The Trigger (Cut-Throat Club).


PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THIS MAY BE DISTURBING FOR  SOME READERS; CONTINUE ACCORDINGLY.

FOREWORD:

Recently, several people who have only been reading or following my blog since the opening of Beasts of Articulation and/or Kindred Words opened up (almost a year ago, now…wow), have sent me private messages inquiring about my “story”. I realize that as a writer, I am all over the fucking place with my posts; and that the content of my blog is generally confusing as fuck to someone who just happens upon it, as a result. I know many of you do not care to read my “story” again, and I apologize to those of you who don’t. I am posting The Trigger once again in attempt at killing a bunch of birds with the one stone, because I am lazy. Anyway, for anyone who is reading this for the first time, THIS is the story of my final injury at the hands of my ex-husband (a now, deceased psychopathic murderer who fathered my only child); and it marks the beginning of my own re-birth and reconstruction, a process that I am continuing to wade through, even now – over a decade later. I have had 29 major surgeries, spent far too much time stuck in-hospital for chunks of mine and my daughter’s lives (collectively, about 4 solid years), and was scarred just as much on the inside as I am on the outside, if not more lastingly. I do not post this for sympathy or pity from anyone who reads it; simply as an explanation to the many pieces of my blog that come across as incomprehensible to someone who is not aware of my own experience thus far in Life.

As my story goes, I am an animal lover, and strive to make any animal as happy as it has the capacity to be; I am a die-hard advocate for domestic violence aid and for the many, many victims of marital terrorism; I am a die-hard advocate for the rights of children in such situations, as well. Sadly, we each know someone who is in a situation very similar, if not the same, as my former circumstance became by the time it reached its tragic ending; I am unbelievably lucky that I am not a long-dead statistic of domestic violence, and my hope is that by sharing my own history, I will help at least one other human being. Thank you, in advance, for your understanding.

 

In some ways, the triggering event was as horrifying as it might have been if she had discovered the lifeless body of one of her own children in that garage – HIS garage – during the earliest hours of the morning on the day of her near-death.

In other ways, it was somehow much, much worse.

The day before had been a bad one – a nasty beating and the brain fog that always accompanied them; there had been a lot of ugliness spat in her direction several times before dinner, and during the meal that she had begrudgingly cooked for him (her appetite had become non-existent and he made sure that she was perpetually dope-sick), she had sat across the table from him with her eyes on the floor, in a vain attempt to avoid the inevitable explosion that she had come to sense brewing and building beneath her husband’s skin.

By this stage of her “captivity”, the woman was allowed individual companionship with five living souls: The Ripper, Boo, and the woman’s three dogs – Sarah, Ozzy, and Vegas. This night, as the tension grew thicker by the bite of food stuffed into her husband’s mouth, it was Sarah, a chow-pit-bull mix that had come into this tragic situation alongside of a once-braver, stronger and more capable version of her caretaker: as an innocent – who lied loyally at the feet the woman’s defeated body, beneath the table on high alert. The dogs were each honed well to the man’s moods also; acting as canine tools that had undoubtedly helped the woman survive in the past.

Directly following his dinner, her giant husband went outside momentarily; and during this brief period, the woman got down on the floor to scratch some neck and belly – a luxury that, outside of him, the monster of a man she had married allowed her ONLY to share with these ever-faithful beasts.

It had at that time that her husband came back in through the back door, and she could tell from the sound of his steps that he was coming for her; she never knew why. Everything had happened so quickly: his boot to her belly, then head – repeatedly; any sense of true consciousness became likened to a strange swirling sensation that drifted drunkenly up and down with the motion of smoke trying to suspend itself in air…she notably forced herself to stay with the pain – to stay awake in defiance, to NOT let him knock her out unconscious again (a gamble of the outcome to a circumstance in which she lost consciousness was not one that typically landed the odds in her favor).

She dazedly heard yelling, clicking and cusswords; growling, snapping and cracking sounds.

It wasn’t until a much later time (years later) that the woman would recall the image of her terroristic spouse exploding at Sarah as well, for vainly trying to protect her. Sarah was a beautiful creature, one that died for her unwavering loyalty to the woman.

BUT, THAT EVENT HAD BEEN YESTERDAY…

It was after she finished cleaning up the bloodied back of her head under the tap in HIS garage, and turned to leave, that she saw Sarah’s body on the dirt floor – semi-covered by a canvas tarp – beaten to death. THIS had been the event that changed everything very quickly, as the guilt and sheer self-loathing that followed this discovery consumed the woman within a nano-second; she went insane from all of it: the beatings, the betrayal and violation, the death that she wished would be granted more swiftly, the death that he gave poor Sarah…and reason she was now dead.

She bolted from the garage and screamed at the top of her lungs for him to come outside and face her: a challenge she knew he would undoubtedly accept as pure entertainment (the thought fueled her disgust and anger, self-hatred and guilt to the point of no return). It was then, that her inner-most warrior at last made an appearance; and the woman let this sensation have control completely.

She had felt no fear when she saw him come to the window the next time, his composed face looking warped with shock and disbelief at her sudden demands. She was screaming a plea for a duel with a man nearly two-and-a-half times her weight. She did not experience the typical fear when he began to pound angrily on the glass from inside the window, hollering things that she could not hear, but knew would be the most venomous death threats he’d ever made. She did not see much of anything besides a deepening blackness and the void of sharp edges; her thoughts huddled, unprocessed in a corner somewhere being protected by her own mind like a child’s.

Her battle cries continued until he finally came to the front door;  at approximately the same time a police cruiser pulled up two driveways down; she began to run towards the chain-link fence in that direction. She wasn’t running to freedom; she was running to tell the police that he was a murderer, to show them what he had done to Sarah – to make them understand why her heart could not go on any further in this living Hell. She was beyond any point of caring about her own safety or future by that time.

He bee-lined for her in the yard as she shuffled like a derelict in haste towards them, demanding that she first passed  his position on the front porch; her mouth sputtering, her lungs afire from yelling for so long and loud. Her long-disrepaired jaw had gradually become an un-healed injury that rendered her barely able to move it. She fell over her own frozen, numb feet, and, feeling certain she had finally met her end, looked directly towards the gathered crowd on the other side of the front yard’s fence; her huge, lumbering and loping husband closed in on her. She verbally managed to convey the message to the nearest police officer that she “was finally about to be killed…” before the final envelopment of her weakened, sinewy figure. A lot of blood and gore ensued. The police and paramedics on stand-by acted without hesitation upon his quickly executed attack, focusing every molecule of energy present in the environment on her simple continuity of LIFE.

 

PHYSICAL INJURIES SUSTAINED:

Severe vascular injury/ies (with particular attention to the internal carotid and jugular) from forcibly displaced mandible fracture and blunt lacerations;

Multiple Maxillofacial traumas requiring numerous surgeries necessary for her jaw to eventually function properly.

For months, she would remain too incoherent to be aware of any of the events that took place that day, or the fact that her husband had escaped the scene, despite so many people being physical there, right nearby, saving her life from his deathly grips at last. She would spend the next year with the burn unit patients in a hospital to physically work right again; and then they would start to try and reconstruct her face. It would be over a decade until any detail of that day (and the days leading up to it) would return to her mind with any true vividness; like any other memory she keeps; the entire element of Sarah having somehow been washed away with her painful, daily skin debriding in those early days – until only about six months ago, while she was writing a section for this blog.

And so, it had been finding Sarah’s battered and bloody body in HIS garage that turned me seemingly insane with guilt and self-loathing…I essentially begged him to come outside and kill me…and he did in some ways.

But, not in the ways that matter most.

 

PLEASE NOTE:

Ozfest and Vegas were unharmed during this incident.

Black on Blue.

If you had a clue how it hurts when you cut in,

with your blade ever-sharp, like a spade to my heart, within;

if you felt the fear that I feel when the torture begins –

if you really loved this person I am,

under this roughed up and broken skin,

I doubt you’d ever be able to hurt me, again.

When you say you’ve changed your evil ways,

when you promise that I can believe what you say;

and my face is smeared and bleeding the very next day –

when you would sooner beat me than to let me get away,

for just a moment, from the constant hurt and pain,

you’d rather violate me in every imaginable way.

Once you broke my body, my mind fell next in line,

you broke me down and ground me out through the course of time;

once you knew I’d still love you, even when you were unkind –

once you recognized the kind by which my spirit is defined,

it then became a simple matter of the gradual pass of time,

before it explodes, and you lose your damned mind.

If you could bleed the blood I’ve bled,

at the hands of your very own beloved,

if your days were so bad, that you wished you were dead –

if you spent your every night being pinned beneath dread,

and your days cleaning wounds all over your swimming head,

I can guarantee that you would have killed me, instead.

When your painful marks cover all of my visible parts,

and you still can’t fight the despicable urge to tear the rest apart;

when the light shines onto what you’ve done to me in the dark –

when you recognize my terror, so you’re sure to make it smart,

and you have brutality down to a medieval dungeon art,

it’s no wonder my blood runs so miserably slow and dark.

…and You Turn Yourself Around…That’s what it’s All About.

PREFACE:

In my “pack” family growing up, my Dad, my Papa, any immediate uncles and aunts, as well as “The Originals” (my older set of brothers) had a ditty that they used to chant whenever anything involved myself, my younger brother, or my brother who precedes me by 19 months – in combination with our lovely mother – “The Shawnee Mommy” – performed to the tune of the Hokie-Pokie. I am sure you can imagine the verses they came up with for each body part when it came to her (they each disliked her intensely). They would regularly lineup like the fucking Temptations or something and sing shit like:

“You got a Shawnne Mommy,

and she’s comin’ to the house!..

That’s what it’s all about – stomp stomp”


STOMP. STOMP.

On my way home this evening, I dropped by my parents’ house unexpectedly (when I refer to my “parents” in the current context, I am always referring to my mother and step-dad, unless otherwise stated for some whack-ass reason that I cannot conjure up). I needed to speak to my step-dad about some stuff that my mother can not be bothered with, as she continues to grieve the loss of my grandmother very, very deeply and perpetually. For the loss she is struggling so mightily to cope with, I am genuinely saddened for my mother; I know that she and my grandmother were always very close, somehow – despite my mother’s lifelong shortcomings as an unstable individual against a solidly founded Tribe. For whatever reasons though, my mother (Willow) maintained a loyalty and closeness to her Mom, my grandma Joey (NOT of Tannuea ‘s clan – she’s my mother’s paternal grandmother), that stands in stark contrast to ANY and EVERY other relationship throughout her entire time alive. I realize she is mourning and grieving and feeling always without. And like I said, for that, I feel sorry for her, indeed.

Now, before I lose a handful of followers and possibly even a few of my friends by describing the events that followed my surprise appearance at her home earlier today, I could launch into a seminar-style presentation in my own defense regarding the many, many, many forces that drive my love/hate relationship with Willow i.e the time that she chucked a plastic shopping bag of canned peaches at my face while I sat unable to defend myself in my hospital bed of webbed tubing (she did this because Security had asked her to leave due to her shockingly venomous behavior towards a newly relocated patient moved to the trauma/burn unit from ICU) – – – I could emphasize the fact that she actually got sent away to a “Pre-Reagan State Hospital” as an alternative sentence to PRISON for smothering me with my own pillow when I was still an infant in a crib because she

“was tired and I was crying non-stop, and [she] couldn’t find David…”(my father)

I could go into detail about any of my many memories of her Leño’d out, drunken, psychopathic boyfriends chasing her to my Dad’s house – her children’s house – out of diabolically jealous entrapment on her part (Willow is an Oscar-Winning Drama Queen), and wound up creating situations in which any one of my older set of brothers (who were not born to her) or my Dad – interchangeably – were arrested and taken away from me because of her bullshit pot-stirring. I could go on and on about my issues with her, how she slept every one of boyfriends she could get her hands on throughout my late teens, including The Ripper, I am thoroughly convinced and always have been. But fuck it, I won’t bother with the bore of it all. I can sum my mother up pretty well with tonight’s triggering event upon her sending me down her hallway to find her husband at the back of the house, because she was too pre-occupied by doing nothing at the time.

As I was walking down the (admittedly unfamiliar) hallway of of my mother’s house, what did I see in a fucking frame on the wall to my left, hung proudly amongst the photos of my very bloodline, other than this lovely triggering memory hanging in my fucking face like a fucking freshly dead carcass had been framed in silver trim:

(The above photo is purposely lacking in image quality, but the point remains the same) THIS IS THE RIPPER AND I. Circa 1999

(The above photo is purposely lacking in image quality, but the point remains the same)
THIS IS THE RIPPER AND I.
Circa 1999

And so, yes…I blew the fuck up on her – – – once again…

I just can’t understand her thinking, no matter how many times I try, or in what ways, or with what empathy…she is just an unnecessarily antagonistic and cruel creature with no clue of her own influence over a child that she bore…way back when.

Fuck, my mother is so clueless, it hurts me.

Dirt Naps in the Desert – Part 2

vow of total silenceShe slept, dreamless, for an unknown time in front of the window on the plaid, overstuffed Ethan Allen couch that always felt like it could swallow whoever sat down; the approaching headlights even failed to wake her when the yellow-white canisters of light finally danced across the pane of glass that she existed on the inside of. What finally woke her was the violent shaking and lack of air in her lungs; her ‘bad ear’ had betrayed once again. Despite her every effort not to do so, her eyes shot open reflexively in response to the growing sensation off suffocation.
She was lying on her back, looking up at the monster above her, his hands wrapped tightly around her disrepaired neck – thumbs overlapping one another at her trachea, pushing down so hard that the edges of her vision immediately began to fade.
‘Just let him kill you, already……..’
One thing she had quickly learned as the victim of a highly sadistic domestic captor is that the cycle is fueled by fear – her fear. When she appeared unafraid, he would lose interest in assaulting her and belittling her much faster than he did when she allowed him to see how terrified she was of him and his sickness. When she fought back and refused to lie down or pass out unconscious, it had the same effect. If she tried to roll into a ball and just ‘take it’, he became so enraged and antagonized by it, that he once kicked her in the face and head until she was literally knocked out cold. Her rebellious nature and history was likely the only thing that had kept her alive so far; abusive men such as her husband grow quickly tired and bored with women who don’t ‘fight back’.
“Who the fuck is driving back and forth out front, trying to get your attention?”
His grip loosened slightly as he spit the confusing question down at her, as if he expected her to actually answer such an absurd query. Her thoughts raced; she had no clue who was driving around outside, if there was even anyone out there at all – who knew?
“You better go out there and tell ‘em to get lost or your ol’ man’s liable to commence an ass whooping’, bitch…”
She always wondered where he had learned those two specific ‘big boy’ words: liable and commence; it’s not as if he ever set foot into a classroom of any kind during his time alive. With that, he shoved her head backwards into the frame of ‘her window’ with so much force that the wood split right in half.
“Go! Go tell them to scram and to stay the fuck away from you and your husband’s house or I’ll kill all of you…Go!”
She scrambled to her feet without question, the confused numbness being the only familiar sensation her; choking on the fresh intake of air allowed her, she instinctively felt the back of her head for the dampness of blood and then began rubbing her throat to get the feeling back where he had his grip only seconds before. The reality was: that if there was actually somebody driving around outside, it was most likely going to be one of HIS friends – ready to run her down with a vehicle or something along those lines. Yet, somehow the idea of that seemed much more inviting than the situation inside with Mr. Americano.
She bolted out the front door without thinking much about it; the pre-dawn air outside was crisp and cool, a breeze gently swaying the trees and shrubs in the yard with a quiet whisper of air. There was nobody out there; no cars or trucks or horse drawn carriages for that matter. She dazedly swept her line of vision back and forth several times before turning to walk back into her own Living Hell once more.
Maybe he will be calmed down now…
The front door was locked when she tried to turn the knob and enter; the thought of him locking her out did not register at first, and she tried repeatedly to turn it before realizing his game. Despite knowing that he would have already covered the back door and the windows already, she made her rounds about the house – trying in vain to get back inside. It was too cold to be outside in one thin layer of clothing, but he knew that. A few hours passed before she groggily recognized the fact that the back of her head had been oozing blood since she came outside, and in the few moments before sunrise, and out of sheer necessity, she tended to the wound with the garden hose and some old napkins from the detached garage (HIS garage).

Once in a while, she would see him wander a window and look for her, always seemingly satisfied with what he saw before returning to whatever it was he was doing inside the warm house alone. She tried not to think about that though; his betrayal and mockery broke her spirit more than any physical harm he could do.
I will NOT beg to get back inside this time…

Dirt Naps in the Desert – PART 1

This wasn’t a new feeling, this heart stuck in the middle of her esophagus feeling; she had grown disturbingly familiar with the pseudo-lump in her throat by now…just a little over a year’s time. Her thoughts drifted hazily back through time, trying to confirm the accuracy of her perception of time passed since she first became this way – since she lost herself in the midst of an existence under the control of a very angry, pathologically violent, faultily hardwired and precariously unstable man…her husband.
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It had, indeed, been over a year, she silently decided with a slow shake of her heavy, down turned head; she was shocked to realize that she had let it get so far out of her own ability to act – to protect herself – to survive. The very notion of survival had taken on a new face in her mind these days. The recurring raccoon eyes, especially in combination with the non-healing broken jaw and collar bones that she still painfully lived with began to seem like a cake walk, in comparison to the things her husband often did when he was on a psychopathic bender.
Mr. Americano’s unacknowledged, intrinsic rage and deeply seeded hatred towards ALL women on Earth manifested differently, depending on the type of bender he was riding out; but the manifestations most certainly always involved degrading her, physically and sexually assaulting her – no matter the way things played out. Lately, he was obviously escalating quickly to a level which he’d never gone before; the terror and tension she now endured from one moment to the next, waiting like a nervous burglar near the front picture window in the darkness – searching the yard for any sign of movement, fearfully anticipating the headlights rolling over the pane of glass behind which she sat like a scared animal, stiff with fear.
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He had been highly upset over Christmas; his anger had oddly been deflected off of her that time however, and he had gone on a rampage all over town to supposedly “collect” what people owed him.
“It’s bullshit that I don’t have no money for Christmas gifts for my girls while they [by “they”, he meant several of his longtime friends who were each struggling much more than we were, financially] have cash to celebrate and shit…”
He had grown increasingly irritable over the few hours prior to finally leaving that night, the night before Christmas Eve, to go “take what was his” from people who he had known since his childhood that supposedly owed him money (she never knew that part of it for sure, though). He left with a handgun in his door panel, and he was out of his mind with this fit of enraged anger over money owed to him; the entire blow-up seemed random as Hell to her, but nothing really made sense anymore.
He had returned early the next morning covered in blood, beaten half to death and looking quite defeated. He looked like a zombie walking up the path to the front door, literally – clothes torn to shreds in some places, one shoe falling apart with every shuffling step he took towards her, the other shoe missing altogether. His face had been smashed worse than he had ever smashed hers; his eyes were both nearly swollen closed (she wondered how he was able to drive home in that condition, but said nothing of it).
Her heart had fluttered at the sight of him that way: broken, bloody and betrayed by his own cockiness and temper; such a short-lived glory plummeted just as quickly as it caught air however, upon the chilling reminder that she would ALWAYS pay the price for the mistakes others made when it came to her husband; she had always bore the burdens of the stupid things people would say or do to piss him off and make him passively violent the instant that they were behind closed doors.
It was with that thought that she snapped back to the present moment: heart still planted firmly in her mid-esophagus, fear still flash freezing her every particle while she waited for Mr. Americano to return tonight. She had no idea where he’d been or who he’d been talking with – there was no telling which off-the-wall fancy he was going to bring home with him this time. One way or another, she would get the wrath for whatever had him so balls-out angry again, she was sure of that much. At some point in between an onslaught of the panicked breaths her body was reflexively forcing her to take and the all-consuming terror and anxiety attached to the anticipation of his homecoming, she actually fell soundly asleep from emotional exhaustion.

When she made the mistake of resting her head with her “good ear” (the one that he hadn’t beaten the ability to hear from) against the mattress or sofa cushions, creating the encompassing silence appreciated only by those with true hearing LOSS, it was inevitable that she would drift off to sleep every time. She loved quiet time; she loved it more with each second of her life that flew away in the wind; it was the only time she was able to think at all, the rest of her time felt like it was spent on a different planet with an alien companion that made bi-polar disorder look like a week-long bachelor party in the Glades.
More often than not, she found herself stunned to uselessness, unable to comprehend what was happening at any given time, as it was 9 times out of 10: an exceptionally unforeseen act of violence (often torture) against her, at the hands of her monstrous husband. It was during these times of sheer Living Hell that she became numb to the physical damages being done to her body somehow. During the most painful of instances, she would will herself to stand up again – over and over and over until her feet and legs refuse to follow her brains command to lift her up once more. The rest of the time though, she unfailingly did nothing but to sit in a daze and focus on the unspeakable levels of cruelty and sadism that the man who fathered her only child enjoyed to watch her squirm beneath.
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She had been through all of the stages akin to this type of a female domestic hostage: denial, enabling, disbelief, self-loathing and guilt, the defensive, the law, and lastly – resignation. It wasn’t long ago that she had realized she would die this way, in this house with her years’ worth of blood stains soaking into each bedroom’s every plank of wood; she understood that this had been her fault, the decision to marry an illiterate, psychopathic giant with ZERO self-control. That was her bad choice and she owned that much of things; it was about all she owned, and she held on to it fiercely.
The night he had come home beaten and defeated, three of his “friends” in three different locations had surprised him with self-defensive responses to his bullying tactics; one had overtaken him with a club from a dark corner in a garage, one had put up the fist fight of his life and eventually got the upper hand when his two brothers showed up and joined in on his side to knock Mr. Americano unconscious. He finally proceeded to go to “Rooster’s” house (this had been the genius who introduced her to her captor/husband a few years back) and pull the gun he had stashed in his truck door as he had left the house on him in the front yard of his house.
Rooster told her at a later time that Mr. Americano had, indeed, chambered a round and aimed the gun at his face before attempting to shoot him dead then and there. The gun jammed and Rooster was close enough to grab for it. After a short scuffle, Mr. Americano found himself at a disadvantage – already worse for wear and without his gun. Luckily for him, his longtime friend has better morals and standards than he ever could have cultivated or maintained, and let him get away without further incident. It was because of this insane incident that Rooster wound up coming to the house just a few days after Christmas to speak with her while he was at his father’s with the girls to exchange gifts etc. True to his imposing notoriety, he just walked right through the front door and came in to where she was folding laundry on the sun porch out back, first startling her and then, scaring her beyond words with his story about the night before Christmas Eve and the terrifying implications behind its events.
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“Look…I know things are bad for you now, but if you stick around here much longer, things are going to only get a lot worse – really fast; if you don’t beeline for it soon, you’re gonna take a dirt nap somewhere in the desert, girl…”
Dirt naps in the desert were sadly a common way for a bad person to get rid of somebody for good; she knew that. Her husband had commented about this several times in the past in reference to other people who had crossed him. She often wondered if he had already buried anyone in the Mojave out there. Miserably, it would not have surprised her to learn that he had.

All she could do was shake her head and stare at the floor as Rooster summarized a dread warning of life or death to her. The thoughts flooded in once more: the pathetically redundant cycle of possible escape plans, the law, and any trustworthy individuals who would not give her up if she ever actually got out to safety and away from him; it was a hideous, dead-end display of her paralyzed state of mentality. After several minutes, and without lifting her gaze to make eye contact in any way, she simply said:
“You better go, Rooster. If he comes home and finds you here while he’s gone, my head will roll, you know?”
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Her husband had continued to behave more and more erratically and unpredictably over the few months between then and the present; disappearing for hours without word and then returning livid and explosively violent towards her. She staged a “visit” for their daughter up north with her parents, a desperate attempt to assure the baby’s own emotional and physical safety. He had never laid a hand on the girls, but that was liable to change at any moment now. One night, while she sat terrified in the front window, waiting for him to return and beat her until he grew bored and tired with the effort it took, she decided to go through with an escape. She had finally realized and accepted the fact that if she did not act, she would die…and likely soon.

The Trigger.

In some ways, the triggering event was as horrifying as it might have been if she had discovered the lifeless body of one of her own children in that garage – HIS garage – during the earliest hours of the morning on the day of her near-death.

In other ways, it was somehow worse.

Sarah

Sarah

The day before had been a bad one – a nasty beating and the brain fog that always accompanied them; there had been a lot of ugliness spat in her direction several times before dinner, and during the meal that she had begrudgingly cooked for him (her appetite had become non-existent and he made sure that she was perpetually dope-sick), she had sat across the table from him with her eyes on the floor, in a vain attempt to avoid the inevitable explosion that she had come to sense brewing and building beneath her husband’s skin.

By this stage of her “captivity”, the woman was allowed individual companionship with five living souls: The Ripper, Boo, and the woman’s three dogs – Sarah, Ozzy, and Vegas. This night, as the tension grew thicker by the bite of food stuffed into her husband’s mouth, it was Sarah, a chow-pit-bull mix that had come into this tragic situation alongside of a once-braver, stronger and more capable version of her caretaker: as an innocent – who lied loyally at the feet the woman’s defeated body, beneath the table on high alert. The dogs were each honed well to the man’s moods also; acting as canine tools that had undoubtedly helped the woman survive in the past.

Directly following his meal, her giant husband went outside momentarily; and during this brief period, the woman got down on the floor to scratch some neck and belly – a luxury that, outside of him, the monster of a man she had married allowed her to share ONLY with these furry, ever-loving creatures.

It had been then that her husband came back in through the back door, and she could tell from the sound of his steps that he was coming for her; she never knew why. Everything had happened so quickly: his boot to her belly, then head – repeatedly; any sense of true consciousness became likened to a strange swirling sensation that drifted drunkenly up and down with the motion of smoke trying to suspend itself in air…she notably forced herself to stay with the pain – to stay awake in defiance, to NOT let him knock her out unconscious again (the gamble of the outcome of a circumstance in which she lost consciousness was not one that typically landed the odds in her favor).

Yelling and clicking and cusswords.

Growling and snapping and cracking.

It wasn’t until a much later time (years later) that the woman would recall the image of her husband booting Sarah as well for trying to protect her. Sarah was a beautiful creature who died for her protective loyalty to the woman.

THAT EVENT HAD BEEN YESTERDAY…

It was after she finished cleaning up the bloodied back of her head under the tap in HIS garage, and turned to leave, that she saw Sarah’s body on the dirt floor – semi-covered by a canvas tarp – beaten to death. THIS had been the event that changed everything very quickly, as the guilt and sheer self-loathing that followed this discovery consumed the woman within a nano-second; she went insane from all of it: the beatings, the betrayal and violation, the death that she wished would be granted more swiftly, the death that he gave Sarah…and the reason why. She bolted from the garage and screamed at the top of her innermost warrior’s lungs for him to come outside and face her: a challenge she knew he would undoubtedly accept as pure entertainment (a thought that fueled her disgust and anger, self-hatred and guilt to the point of no return).

She had felt no fear when she saw him come to the window the next time; his composed face looking warped by shock and disbelief at her sudden demand for a duel with a man nearly three times her weight. She did not experience the “usual” fear when he started to pound on the glass from the inside and holler things she could not hear, but still knew would be the most venomous death threats he’d ever made to her. She did not see much of anything besides blackness and void of light; her thoughts unprocessed in a corner somewhere being protected by her own mind like a child’s. Her battle crying continued until he did finally come to the front door; the same time a police cruiser pulled up two driveways down and she began to run towards the chain-link fence in that direction.

She wasn’t running to her own freedom – she was running to tell the police that he was a murderer, to show them what he had done to Sarah – to make them understand why she’d lost her mind this way. She was beyond any point of caring about her own safety or freedom by that time. He bee-lined for her in the yard as she shuffled her battered frame in haste towards his position in the front door, her mouth sputtering blood, her lungs afire from yelling for so long and loud. Her busted and long-disrepaired jaw barely opened as it was, and she was beaten badly again the day before – hence, the lack of any notice of Sarah’s absence to begin with. She fell over her own numbed feet, and, feeling certain she had met her end, looked directly towards the gathered crowd on the other side of her front yard’s chain-link fence as her huge, loping husband closed in on her. She verbally managed to convey the message to the nearest police officer that she “was finally about to be killed, too…” before his final envelopment of her weakened, sinewy figure against the Thule Fog backdrop. The police and paramedics on stand-by acted without hesitation upon his quickly executed attack, focusing every molecule of energy present in the environment on her simple continuity of LIFE. PHYSICAL INJURIES SUSTAINED:

  • Severe vascular injury/ies (with particular attention to the internal carotid and jugular) from forcibly displaced mandible fracture and blunt lacerations.
  • Multiple Maxillofacial traumas requiring numerous surgeries necessary for her jaw to work properly again.

For months, the woman would remain too incoherent to be aware of any of the events that took place that day, or the fact that her husband had escaped the scene, despite so many people being physical there, right nearby, saving her life from his deathly grips at last. She would spend the next year with the burn unit patients in a hospital to physically work right again; and then they would start to try and reconstruct her face. It would be over a decade until any detail of that day (and the days leading up to it) would return to her mind with any true vividness; like any other memory she keeps; the entire element of Sarah having somehow been washed away with her painful, daily skin debriding in those early days – until only about six months ago, while she was writing a section for this blog.

And so, it had been finding Sarah’s battered and bloody body in HIS garage that turned me seemingly insane with guilt and self-loathing…I essentially begged him to come outside and kill me…and he did in some ways.

But, not in the ways that matter most.

Ozzy and Sarah    Circa 2000

Ozzy and Sarah
Circa 2000

NOTE: Thankfully, Oz and Vegas were unharmed during this incident.

Re-Recovery.

cut throat as it comes

As a survivor, I can say that the word “recovery” gets thrown around an awful lot in the medical community, be it in regard to surgery, mental instability and/or impairment, a plethora of varying ailments and illnesses, and of course – alcohol and illegal drug addiction; we hear the word used to describe our economic status from time to time; we hear “recovery” used as a term to describe what occurs during police raids and hostage situations – in the context of anything from tangible assets, to living, breathing human beings. We hear the word used mostly in a productive element, as opposed to a dark or terrifyingly surreal one; the sound of the word “recovery” evokes a sense of upward motion or a confirmation of something’s very existence.
For me, hearing the word so often created a void of meaning, in the human context, at least. I’ve met too many “recovered” individuals that give me nightmares to believe in the idea of “recovery” being a universal one; I’m very keen to the fact that my recovery might not look a god damned thing like the next guy’s form of it – I know from personal and painful experience also, that the next guy’s version of being “fully recovered” might only slightly resemble one of my own first stages of the notion of fully recovering.

DOES THE TYPE OF RECOVERY MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
Well, duh….
Granted, the basic concept of “recovery” can be stitched loosely and tie together many types of circumstances and people who would otherwise have NOTHING as a common thread; however, the struggles and challenges of recovery that define a person who is recovering from a tonsillectomy for example, as opposed to a person in the grips of a recovery surrounding something along the lines of say: a traumatic injury, a behavioral or mood disorder, or a recent round of Chemo-therapy, forge a line in the dirt between two separate parts of reality. There are vast differences in the goals and time-frames that represent the recovery process of a post-op maintenance knee surgery patient, in stark contrast to the goals and time-frames in question for someone that’s also in medical/psychological recovery, and continues to suffer from the additional challenges presented by ongoing manifestations of anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder – resultant of violently traumatic physical injury.
For example, let’s compare:
someone who is lying comfortably within the drug-induced haze of a post-op ward after a routinely performed surgical knee or back or shoulder repair procedure – one that had been scheduled by a specialist months ahead of time, having had plenty of associated information exchanged between healthcare providers and patient as a means of mentally preparing the patient as much as possible prior to surgery and, in turn, “recovery”. This patient will be detailed a strict rehabilitation schedule upon leaving the hospital, typically complete with a slew of exercise class and various physical rehabilitators that will ensure the complete and accurate recovery process.
TO…
someone who is in the drug-induced haze of a trauma ward or I.C.U. – post-op for an unknown length of time, enveloped by physical shock and acutely aware of the ease at which another individual is capable of harming her at will; unable to process the trauma that she has just endured and survived through somehow – unable to trust the safety that continues to be promised to her by the strange people she must depend upon to keep her alive from one long, pain filled day to the next. This patient does not know her surgeons, she does not know what they are performing the up close and very personal surgeries on her for, and this patient is confused, afraid and forlorn. There is no outline set forth for “recovery” upon the release of this patient from the hospital; she will be on her own to forge through the turbulence that awaits any victim of violent trauma.

The people along the way during the process will make an important difference in the overall outcome for each recovering patient, as well. Those with heart and humanity are the silent saints that have been scattered throughout the healthcare industry to somehow balance out the presence of those that represent the polar opposite of such kindness and compassion – and there are more than enough of that type.
For me, my experiences with “recovery” from the Ripper and my traumatic injury would have undoubtedly been defined much differently, had I not been pitied by the specific people who pitied me and in turn, offered me the gift of their attention. When I look back on the long and harrowing process of “recovery” from a near-fatal marriage that ended violently in a gore-fest that could have easily been ripped out of a low-budget horror film, and I recognize the alternate routes that it could have taken – based solely on the influences of outside stimuli that I was constantly exposed to during such a crucial time in my own physical, spiritual and psychological battle of “recovery”.

I am still far from fully “recovered” from my own experience fifteen years ago; it’s been a perpetually domino affected chain of events that have followed the day that I was finally released from the Hot House (the local ICU burn unit) – the day that I was technically deemed as being “recovered” and well enough to go “home”. Little did the prescribing doctors and specialists realize, I had no home anymore – and so the road to TRUE recovery likely began sometime around then, when I was faced with an overwhelmingly unwelcome reality that left me more or less speechless for months on end. Those days are the days that I consider to have been the bulkiest loads carried through my own recovery process so far – the days when I wasn’t sure what I was doing or why, just waking up and shuffling my feet for ten hours before falling back to sleep fitfully.
I had the blessing of motherhood back then; and somehow, I also had the ability, desire and presence of mind to appreciate such a gift – my only thing in the world that made sense and gave me purpose. Being a mom motivated me to carry on for something, it enabled me to escape my own world of confusion and the unknown; it healed me better than any of the days in the ICU ever could have healed me. I feel 110% certain that had I not had Boo and her existence to dive completely into like I did at the time of my “recovery”,

I wouldn’t have made it through the darkness and pain – I wouldn’t have even tried, I wouldn’t have wanted to.
Recovery has come and gone in varying fashion and multifaceted manifestations since the earliest days of my Cut-Throat Survivor’s birth; there are times when I feel so far from “recovered” that I laugh out loud at the prospect of considering myself a “survivor”; other days, I feel like I could mow down an entire task force with my saliva if I spit in that direction; it’s a relative to the current state of my own being, I suppose. I spent a lot of years in trying to fit into some type of “recovery” category or phase, to fall in line with some pre-defined step in a book of instructions on how to recover; I traveled into high and quiet places in attempt to clear my own mind and focus myself better; I’ve gone to prayer groups and spoken at huge seminars on domestic violence and chaired board meetings to outline legislative plans of action against child sexual assault. These things have each played a small part in my overall picture of “recovery”; but not one thing anywhere can ever be the solution in itself – for anyone.

The Recoverors.

The Recoverers.

RECOVERY is a path, a road to something better, whatever that might be for a given individual. RECOVERY is a haven for the souls lost to the torment of emotional shock; RECOVERY is a step in any direction when you haven’t been able to walk for a while; RECOVERY is the solution to the things that keep us lying awake at night, unable to rest our minds.
RECOVERY is yours, and it is mine – and it will NOT look the same on my plate as it does on yours.
And…that is okay…we can still digest the contents of it together.