My brother and i were physically abused from as far back as i can remember. It was hell and we knew it and we lived in it. Even if we behaved or tried to please him it was an excuse to get slapped and kicked around, sometimes locked in the closet or basement cuz how could we possibly be intelligent enough to anticipate his needs, how dare we guess what he would want. Physical injury was an almost daily occurrence. One time i was beaten so badly he told the doctor i tried to steal his car and totaled it on a tree, and he even went so far as to wreck his car so he would get away with it. One time he was so furious with me he slammed my head into the tv to see if i could hear it when HE was making noise. Sometimes i still bang my head to get the stupid out. Did he ever know how far reaching his actions would be...
The sa started when i was 6. Many years later i found out this started around about the time he found out i was not his son. Barry was never sa as far as i ever knew and it was a good thing for me cuz he would hide me sometimes and save me from the wrath and punishment and torture. I remember the first time like it was yesterday. I couldn’t believe it was happening, terrified that it would not kill me, praying it would, the physical pain was more than i could bear. In the years that followed, the mental pain began to override the physical pain, as i always struggled to do my best to please, failing miserably and being punished for it as surely as i breathed.
The physical abuse worsened after 6, for me anyway. I was often locked in the cold dark basement for days, with only dog food to eat. When he discovered i was eating the dog food, he took even that away. Anything that terrified me, any little thing that could make me cry, was his way of having fun with me, cuz he got off on my screams and tears. It took a very long time before i learned to smother them effectively.
I often awoke to his silhouette in the street light from the window, naked, engorged, reaching to pull the blankets off me. Some nights the image comes to mind again and i can’t sleep until daylight finally arrives; sometimes I still wake, screaming, from the memory, even more terrified of being caught screaming and that it will start all over again.
I was loaned out to some of his friends. Except once, i always went, never complained, and learned to cry silently in the dark when i was sure the guy was passed out. The one time i did say no, i was around 10. To make matters worse, i said no right in front of this “friend”. He could not believe i would do that to him, how dare i, so for a nice surprise he beat me senseless, threw me in the basement, and left me there for almost a week. For the bonus round, just to make sure i would learn my lesson and do as i was told, he decided to rape me at gunpoint in his twisted version of russian roulette. To this day, the echo of three empty chambers still haunts my memories.
When i was 11 i was sold to a man named Gus for his every sick and twisted pleasure. Gus was a pimp. I was his whore.
Gus worked very hard grooming me, training me, doing everything to convince me he loved me so that i would do anything for him. Starved for any kind of attention, shamefully, i fell for it and did almost anything and everything he wanted because he pretended it pleased him. Unfortunately my father’s temper was a sun shower compared to Gus’s hurricane and several times i was brought so close to death by his fury, i could almost reach out and touch the other side.
There were no Christmases, there were no birthdays, there were no special occasions, well unless you consider i was available for “special occasions”. This meant anything from prostitution, to stripping, to playing the party favour, to being someone’s personal punching bag, for whatever reason, want or need the customer paid for. Acceptable performance got me good attention from Gus, imperfect or unacceptable performance or behavior was dealt with swiftly and severely. I did my best to do whatever it took so he would let me into his bed and hold me thru the night. These were the times i was treated warmly, lovingly, attentively; the ver times i lived for, for 7 years.
I guess as a coping mechanism, maybe more of a survival instinct, I ran away allot, terrified of the pain and torture. Unfortunately, I ran back allot, addicted to the attention and false sense of “being taken care of”. I did whatever i had to do to survive. I believed there was nothing better for me in life. I believed that if i could only be good enough, smart enough, pleasing enough, i could find a little happiness or at least learn to be content with my lot in life.
Some time when i was 13, i met Kathy, who was 2 yrs older than me and a heroin addict. Looking back, i guess i was experimenting... she was female and i thot i was in love, and she said she loved me back. She made me feel normal and like a man (yikes, at 13). I used to sneak away to be with her. A few months down the road she told me she was pregnant. I ran away from Gus and hustled to make enough money to rent a tiny basement apartment for us to live in, living in constant fear of being found by Gus and him taking his wrath out on her or the baby. Late September of the year i was 14, our beautiful little boy Kevin was born, healthy and happy. We thot we were doing the best we could to raise him, and for a very short while, we were a happy little family. Sometime later that winter, his mother died of a heroin overdose. I tried to raise him by myself but the neighbour who babysat while i worked called child services and my son was swept away into the system. I was lost without him and sunk into a deep depression aggravated by drug and alcohol abuse. Eventually Gus picked me up on a street corner and i went back to work for him, too numb and needy to resist.
Some time the summer i was 15 my father came around as he often did. Gus would allow him another freebie, and he would have his fun, he would tell me “for old time’s sake”. Anyway this time he had a really bad time with me because after having lived with Gus for so long, the terror factor was gone, and it didn’t seem to matter what he did he couldn’t make me either cry or scream. Suffice it to say, he eventually did make me scream. The motel owners called the police and he was arrested and charged with everything they could throw at him. I testified in a closed court session as best i could, not because i wanted to, but because Gus told me to. Because he had no priors, he got 2 years and served about 9 months.
That same summer, another of Gus’s regulars, a particularly sadistic and torturous character, decided he too wanted to hear me scream. He broke my pelvis during a violent rape. Altho Gus took care of me and nursed me back to health so to speak, i never saw a doctor about it and so it never healed properly.
Some time when i was 16, my father found me working in a strip club one night. I guess he thot that meant i was asking for it, so he waited in the bathroom for me. It took four guys to pull him off me. He got 15 years this time.
Life with Gus... went on. My mental problems didn’t help matters any, and when a severe flashback kicked in, i was locked in the closet til i “got over it”. They scared Gus cuz there was nothing he could do about them and he never did find a way to snap me out of it. The first few times it happened i would try to make the images go away by banging my head on the wall or floor but he would put a stop to that quick enough. Later i learned other methods of self injury for self punishment and also to get my mind off my mind.
To this day, small or dark areas trigger panic attacks. Panic attacks trigger flashbacks. Flashbacks trigger dissociative states...
When i was 18 i knew i couldn’t do it anymore. This time i ran many miles away. Then, and now, the words of a certain song run thru my head...
I’m standing in the middle of the desert
Waiting for my ship to come in
But now no joker, no jack, no king
Can take this losing hand and make it win
I’m leaving Las Vegas…
Leaving Las Vegas
And I won’t be back
No, no I won’t be back
Not this time
The external scars fade with time, the internal ones never will.
Those who dance appear insane to those who cannot hear the music. Mark Kleiman
Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it. Winston Churchill