Another Piece

Not since my leaving home post have I dreaded writing something so much, nor needed to write something so much. I don't know why now is the proper time to tell this story, but it is.  It's hard to do, especially considering who might see or read it, but again, now's just the time.  If you don't feel like reading something graphic, consider this your warning.

My mom, Dana, had an older sister named Doris.  Aunt Doris is still one of my favorite people on earth; she was bright and full of life and twice as sarcastic as me.  She was literally the definition of "the cool Aunt."  She had two children, Adam and Tracy.  Tracy died young in a car crash and it changed everyone's lives, even mine, though I was maybe five at the time.

But this story happens before that.  The beginning is actually one of my first memories.  I recall a few at the age of three, and one memory at the age of two, so this was among those.  I was at my Nonna's house and she and my mom and aunt were going out.  They left my cousin to watch me.  I didn't know my cousin very well; he was older than me (somewhere in his teens I believe) and I remember thinking that I would just draw or play on my own, as I usually did.

When the adults left, Adam told me that we were going to play house.  Everything after that statement is still crystal clear in my mind, from the beginning (which was him instructing me to lay on the couch because that's what mommys and daddys do) all the way to the end.  I remember thinking during this that I didn't like it, it was wrong and bad and it hurt, but I don't think I argued or even spoke.  And afterward, the adults came back and nothing was said.

Until I got home.  I was never close to my mother, even at that young age.  She was a stranger to me and we simply didn't talk (not that a three year old has anything especially important to say I guess) but I remember thinking to my little self, 'I need to tell her what happened.'  I took my opportunity when she was in the bedroom sitting on the bed folding clothes.  I climbed up and the memory is so clear, I can even remember feeling embarrassed because it felt like I did something wrong, and because she was not someone I trusted or felt I could talk to.  I told her about the incident and I remember that she just looked at me in shocked silence for a few minutes before saying, "Don't tell your dad about this."

"Why not?" It was not anywhere near the comment that I had expected, even though I wasn't aware as a three year old that there was any appropriate answer.

"Because," and, since my dad was in the other room, she lowered her voice, "He'll kill Adam."

Instead of putting my mind at ease, I remember feeling my heart speed up at that.  It was one of those moments where your blood turns to ice in your veins and you just feel cold and frozen.

I never told anyone else about the incident, and it wasn't mentioned again until I was about fourteen.


At least, I was kept away from Adam after that.  We did spend time with Doris and Nonna, but much less of it was unsupervised and he was never a babysitter again.  My aunt married a guy named Jerry who had two sons, and the older was in my age range.  Every time we were at my aunt's, he would find some sinister way to "play" hide and seek or video games or something else, and it always turned into a field day for him to put his hands on me.  On my breasts or between my legs, and I always just silently wormed away and did my best to make sure Ariel, my little sister, was never alone with him.  I never told anyone about it.  She was my concern and I just silently endured the son's touching.  That's what I thought I was supposed to do.

When I was fourteen, my parents had a huge falling out with my Nonna and Aunt Doris.  It was mostly my dad's fault (he loves being angry and flipping out on people) and culminated in my dad pointing a gun at their faces and forcing them off the property.  Doris went to the police about this and they basically shrugged and informed her that my dad had 'paid off' the cops in the area.  (I heard about this years later from her.)  I was at school when all this happened, and remember coming home to mom sitting on the front porch with the phone, in the middle of a venomous conversation with Doris on the other end of the line.  Like I pretty much always did at home I felt completely uneasy, and backed away without listening too closely to what they were saying.

But my suspicion about the conversation turned out to be true.  My mom was still outraged afterward at her sister's behavior and while she was angrily smoking a cigarette outside, she told me face to face, "I told her about what Adam did to you."

I was furious.  "Why tell her now? What's the point? What did it have to do with anything?!"  I felt like at the very least, the only good my mom had done up until then is keep something very shameful to me private, and now she'd went and broken that pact.  My mom was confused by my anger and shrugged dismissively, and I ended up storming away.  I don't know to this day if she ever told my dad or if he found out after that conversation.  If it was possible to bring up to Doris during a stupid petty fight, why couldn't she take me to a doctor to make sure I was okay? Or a therapist?


After years of being estranged I finally found Doris again years later, with the power of the internet.  She was still living in Georgia and I spent some time with her, and actually lived with her for maybe a month in 2011.  When I arrived I hadn't realized how sick Doris was; she had diabetes, was missing a kidney, and had congestive heart failure.  She was pretty much bedridden to a chair in the living room, and this is where I spent most of my time reconnecting with one of the only positive female role models in my life.

We talked about my mom and dad.  We talked a bit about religion (she is the only member of my family to know of my atheism and fully accept me regardless) and my hobbies and interests.  When she found out I was writing a sci-fi book she promised she'd read it despite hating the genre.  We discussed my future wedding.  I was always hesitant and waiting for that conversation to come up.  Finally one day, it did.  We were actually in her vehicle, and she turned to look back at me from the passenger side.  "I've been meaning to talk to you about something your mom told me."

I braced myself.  I'd already made the decision to lie about it.  I'm not sure why; I think I wanted to spare Doris any pain.  She would either think I was lying, or learn that her son was..well, pretty monstrous.  She had already lost her other kid and I had no intention of being the center of more family drama.

"Your mom said, and we never could figure out if it was true...did Trampus molest you when you were little and he was living there?"

This caught me completely off guard.  Trampus was my older half-brother, my dad's son from a previous marriage.  I  remembered him faintly in those scattered hazy memories before age five.  He had indeed lived with us for a few months, and then suddenly one day he was gone.  I assumed he had just went to live with his mom.  Nothing was ever said about it.  I remember stuttering stupidly something about not remembering it.   And I actually asked my older sister Susan about this a few months later.

"Yeah, we were never sure if that was something you said as a kid or if Dana was just jealous of Trampus and wanted him gone.  She never liked him.  But he would never do that.  Dad never argued or saw anything happen, it was just Dana's word."

Indeed, I don't remember anything ever happening between my older brother and I--actually, he acted just as annoyed at a little excited giggling sister as you'd expect for a teenage boy.  But the whole situation opened up a whole new sickening set of options.  Had something happened with him and my brain just blocked it out?  What if my mom did lie about it to get him out of the house?  Did she use the situation with Adam, which I do vividly remember, as inspiration for the lie?

I felt a lot of anger toward this entire incident, which was kept from me my entire life until this point, and I was 25 years old--so, not that long ago.  I just assumed that Trampus left, and never knew I supposedly had anything to do with it.  And I still awaited Doris's question about Adam, which did come.  I played ignorant and lied through my teeth.  She seemed relieved, and confused about why my mom would even bring something like that up out of nowhere years after it happened.  During her ruminations she mentioned her ex-husband, Jerry (father of the step-cousin who also liked to grope me anytime he could.)  She said one of their biggest marital fights occurred after Jerry supposedly opened the basement door to find Adam masturbating to a photo of Doris.  Jerry swore the incident happened, but Doris refused to believe it, and instead turned on her husband.

And of course, during the time I stayed with my aunt, her son was in and out.  We had a few tense and awkward hello's and didn't speak much.  He was just like I remembered him and I suppose a part of me was still revolted and shocked about what happened so many years before.  I avoided him at all costs and once Doris had passed away, I never spoke to him again.

The whole situation, in retrospect, just makes me sad.  It's not like we didn't have enough drama, or me enough trauma as a kid, to throw in a random incest encounter.  And nothing makes me feel dirtier, especially knowing that I come from the south and I can't reluctantly mention it without some jackass making a joke about "fucking your cousins."  Thanks, yeah.  It may or may not have had some medical effects on me as well, but I can say obviously it had emotional impact.  What's worse, this isn't even the only time a family member sexually assaulted me--the other situation happened when I was in foster care, and it was an uncle by marriage, which didn't make it any less bizarre and awful.

And this isn't really something I've even touched on in therapy.  I'm sure it will come to that point eventually, but it doesn't affect me the way it has in the past.  Not something you'll hear me complain about.  I wish that everything had been different and I am at peace with feeling ashamed.  I hate how these assault survivor groups scream in your face pointlessly DON'T FEEL SHAME!!! as though it's my fault that I'm feeling improper feelings.  And I'm not.  Shame is a mind's way of regulating its actions, and it's not an action I'd ever like to repeat, so, shame it is.  Shame is also one of our older emotions, and I am at peace with feeling something so biologically primal and appropriate, especially considering I was far too young to reason myself out of it.  Maybe one day it will go away, but I'm not going to bust my ass trying to feel something that isn't true or change my perception on something that wasn't my fault.

I don't know why I'm even sharing this story.  I do think it's important for people who have gone through this to know they aren't alone, and it honestly sickens me how many people, upon hearing my (two sentence description) of the event have similar tales.  Either from a family member, or a total stranger.  I wish it didn't have to be that way.  I would rather feel alone and be the only sufferer than find common ground.  But if I had felt more comfortable telling others, things might have gone differently.  I believe in every case the truth should come out to protect potential other victims, as well as bring the abuser to justice, and acknowledge and support the survivor.  But that wasn't the case in my circumstance.  It's felt like for almost twenty seven years, I'm the only one who knows the truth.

Now it's here, and I can feel a bit more at peace about it.


A to Z of Me // Bloggy Brunch

I saw this super cute post idea over on Jemma's blog and had to try it out.  Thanks Jemma!  (This isn't a confessions post but I'm going to link up with Nadine)

The A-Z of yours truly!

A  -  Alex.  I get so sick of "Why do you go by Alex?" (My name is Patricia Alexandra) UM... BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT MY PARENTS CALLED ME!  It was their decision.  I was always Alex.  There's no rule against calling someone their middle name.  Rant over.

B -  Boring.  I consider myself a pretty boring person.  I like quiet, simple things, and I'm pretty happy with that. I definitely do live an adventurous life, but adventures can be small too!

C - Cat.  I am a cat.  (Both personality wise and according to the zodiac...) but my favorite creature in the world is my cat.

D - Dress up.  I like pinup for several reasons, but one is because day to day I feel pretty 'meh' and pinup takes you from 'meh' to BOOM!  I clean up pretty good once you get the dirt off me.

E - Eowyn.  A close friend compared me to her many years ago and after giving it, and myself, a lot of thought over the years, I'd say I come pretty damned close to being a redheaded version of her.  Capable leader, fierce warrior, kindhearted diplomat and matriarch...yes, I'll lead Rohan now thank you.

F - Friend.  I think that I have the potential to be a very supportive friend and it's one area where I've never had doubts about myself.  In recent years this has strengthened due to my resolve to work on it.  I can't be a good daughter, or a good mother, or a good sister, so I can be a damn good friend.

G - Gryningen.  My favorite Swedish word! (It means dawn) I first heard it in a wonderful little song which states "shadows can disappear, and dandelions turn up their seeds to grow up at dawn"

H - Hair.  True to whatever the Leo stereotype is, I obsess over, take care of, love my hair.  I would never cut it.

I - Insanity.  I think it runs in my family.  No...no, I'm pretty damned sure it does.

J - Jou.  Ik hou van jou. (Voor iemand speciaal) ;)

K - Kitty.  My first cat, my first love.  He is a wonderful companion and friend.

L - Loner.  Always me.  Always has been, always will be.  I am just a lonely person.

M - Mom.  Losing my mom changed me in ways I didn't think I could even be changed.  And it actually made me a better person, and I will always lament that it took something so drastic to put me on a different path and mindset.

N - Norma Bates, as played by Vera Farmiga--AMAZING!!!!! That whole show is my favorite.  It is probably the best thing on TV.

O - Odin.  I've come, in recent weeks, to really take inspiration from this insanely awesome figure.  He killed himself to gain ultimate knowledge, he has two ravens and I mean come on, who doesn't want two ravens?  Stories about Odin either inspire me or crack me up (or both) so you can't go wrong with that kind of role model.

P - Piano.  Not many people know it but I can carry quite a few tunes on the piano.  If only I had one here with me.

Q - Quiche.  Because this meme cracks me up so hard.

R - Resident Evil 4 - AMAZING game, gorgeous atmosphere and visuals, best characters (minus Ashley....) just wow, what an experience for a new gamer!  And still probably the scariest game I've ever played.

S - Spock.  My first idol, the one who taught me about logic and reasoning and how to be calm and intelligent so that you can help any situation!  Also, killer eyebrows.

T - Teaching.  It means SO much to me. And I'm good at it!  I love especially teaching art, and EMS related topics.

U - Underwear.  99.999999999999% of the time I go commando.  TMI, sorry!

V - Vegas.  A city I'd contemplate moving to if I ever needed to get away.  I do love it there.

W - Worley.  I am so proud of my last name (even though it isn't the original last name of my paternal line) and I never intend to give it up, even if Till married me!  I wouldn't even hyphenate.

X - Haha.  Uhhh. I have never watched XXX!!! Even though, speaking of Rammstein.....Till's in it.

Y - Yesterday.  We had a joke with Carl, who pronounced y's like j's in true Swedish spirit, that we sang "Jesterday".  He got so mad one day that he ranted in Swedish all the way to the bus stop or wherever we were rambling to.  Oh man.

Z - Zelda, my first and biggest video game influence.  Ocarina of Time will always be the top most perfect game ever made, and it pains me to say that something beats out RE4!!!

And now, time for the linkup!


Black and Orange Velvet

“The wind outside nested in each tree, prowled the sidewalks in invisible treads like unseen cats. Tom Skelton shivered. Anyone could see that the wind was a special wind this night, and the darkness took on a special feel.... Everything seemed cut from soft black velvet or gold or orange velvet."

I consider myself pretty predictable, which might surprise some people considering my life choices.  But in the ongoing day-to-day of my life, it's pretty boring and simple.  That includes the places I adventure to; I sure do set off on grand trips sometimes and seek out things that are new to me, but more often I haunt the same old areas because they are familiar and I prefer that.

I like the feeling of visiting a place that is my friend.  Silver Lake is definitely one of my best friends, and even though it's fun to realize I have only scratched the surface of the area after being in this state ten years, nothing feels quite as good as that simple same road, up Big Cottonwood, and around the lake.  No matter the weather I can walk it and there are so many options under the mountain, so many trails for whatever mood I'm in.

Recently I've come to feel the same way about my camera.  At first it was just really confusing, and then less confusing, and now it's familiar to me in a way I didn't think I'd feel.  I definitely don't consider myself a photographer, but I have absolutely found joy in taking photos that supplements the other creative things I do to dam up the crazy and release it on a pressure valve so that there isn't a nuclear meltdown or Hurricane Patricia 2.0.  It feels familiar and good to go out and photograph this gorgeous place, or any other place or event.

So, no matter how many times I walk Silver Lake, I feel happy and like I'm with a friend, and now I have another.  I don't know how to thank you, Tobias...but...thank you!


October Monthly Goals // Bloggy Brunch

Another month over, 85 sleeps til Christmas---but let's talk about the present! (And very recent past)
One of the most popular months of the year, because it's awesome.   Hi October!

Busy September

I didn't blog very much in September, but what I did say, I feel, was very relevant: speaking out about aging out of foster care, and sharing some gorgeous moments I've had.  I went to Oktoberfest, participated in my first 'real' pinup contest, and had one of my biggest moments of growth surrounded by my favorite mountains.  I feel so good about this past month because I accomplished a lot of milestones, both personal and professional.

Busier October

This month is going to be...well, something.  The way our work schedule pans out is that if one person takes vacation, their relief covers for the duration of the vacation, plus their own shifts.  This means on average, nine or ten days of straight work with no days off.  They are all 12 hour shifts, an hour away from where I live.  The general consensus is that I'll be dead by the time I'm done.  Immediately after this stint, I'm boarding a flight to Tennessee for another five.  After that, I come back home and host a Halloween party, and the month will be over.


Recertify!  PASS Done! I am over the mooooon about how supportive everyone has been!
Go to physical therapy  FAIL  Well, I did get the referral, so I'm halfway there...
Get the goddamn xray done. PASS 
Get my uniforms FAIL Not my fault.  Don't ever use Skaggs and expect prompt service...
Send out thank you cards and repayments for Flemith's surgery FAIL I am so upset this hasn't happened...and I'm hoping I can use my 120 hour 'workweek' to get some leeway done.
Enter another pinup contest  PASS I had soooo much fun.
Go to the State Fair PASS Again--I had a blast! Sort of a bittersweet goodbye, though....
Start a new blog series  FAIL  Whoops haha, that totally didn't happen.
Take more outfit photos FAIL  Yeahhhh I barely wore clothes when I was home. HA!

4/4, not too shabby.  Here's what I've put together for October.

Survive Tennessee  Sounds hilarious, unless you know my story...
Keep on top of checking account  With going out of town I want to really keep an eye on money.
Plan a good party  How? No idea.  I'll figure it out.
Get thank you's sent out before Tennessee  No better thing to do at work when it's quiet!
Go to another pinup contest  I must be insane to take this on considering my schedule.
Give Charity her present  I failed to make it to her party (thanks work) so...late gift it is.
Flemeth's neutering  Oh, it's scheduled for Tuesday and I'm so nervous :'(

Bloggy Brunch

And now, time for the linkup!  I kind of failed at this horrifically last month, but we'll see if I can hold it together for October.