The Webs We Weave.

PTSD: (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Noun:
An anxiety disorder associated with serious traumatic events and characterized by such symptoms as (but not limited to):
Survivor guilt,
Reliving the trauma in dreams,
Numbness and lack of involvement with reality,
Recurrent mood-altering thoughts and/or images; or
the recurrent and persistent memories and recollections of a traumatic event or experience.

 

Given a duly noted “predisposition” of mental instability attached to my very conception since before my birth (my mother was a severely unstable, drug-addicted, drunken Shawnee Native; who was also at the time, an untreated schizophrenic when she gave birth to me in 1979), I believe my father and brothers expected a deficiency just as severe from me, someday. I have somehow always harbored – what was for a long time: an unidentified – fear of growing up into a raving, schizophrenic drunk just like the estranged and frightening mother from my childhood. Very regularly during preadolescence, I pattern-dreamed (a Shawnee term used to describe the attachment of one’s sub-consciousness to another’s through dreamscape – away from the waking world as we know it) about my elusive and unpredictable mother.

 

I was always a yearling again – wearing a soggy diaper, behind the lovingly hand-crafted bars of a wooden crib – alone in a warm and sunlit  bedroom; and I am crying my little  heart out for someone to open the door and come for me, to hear me. Hours seemed to pass this way in the dream; nobody would come for what felt like days, maybe weeks –to a youngster ‘s warped perception of time…and then, SHE opens the door and stands there in the shadow cast by the hallway bulb – its grayness seeming to wash out any color as it beams down around her like a canister of smoke; I begin to cry again – loudly and more boisterously as to be noticed by her, I’m unafraid of her presence in the dream; I see her as my “savior” in my current-day recollections of its detail, I want her to come in and pick me up – I want her to hold me and clean me up and spend time with me. I don’t want to be alone and crying in this room any longer and she is my ticket out of there. I start screaming her;

MamaMama!

 

I swallow small gulps of my own snot and tears in the process; I’m so desperate to catch her attention.

 

 “Mama!!!”

 

She turns to her left and leaves without a care in the world. It was also during preadolescence, I should note here, that my father decided to spill the truth behind a strain in their relationship that obviously went beyond the differences they blamed for their divorce: this was the life-altering morsel that my mother had tried to “smother” me with my own pillow when I was an infant, still in a crib. Needless to say, this spun my world around a few times before throwing it off kilter for a few rounds, too; I was really caught off guard by this confession by my Dad, and it explained countless trifles of my existence – this horrible little truth. I wondered who else knew. My father assured me that only “the Originals”, meaning my older “set” of brothers (typically referred to as “the Originals” in my writing), and my Papa (my Dad’s father) knew about the incident.

Umokay, so you mean my Moms not only crazy as Hell, but she actually tried to off me when I was too little to defend myself?!God damn!!!

That was an eye-opener for me at the pliable age of eleven…it hurt deeply to learn, and never quite allowed Life to feel the same again after knowing it. It wasn’t until I was at least sixteen, and still trying desperately in vain to keep my baby brother (who later committed suicide) from falling mentally apart as a result of the same kind of schizophrenia that afflicts my mother, that the question hit me like a ton of bricks:

 

Why in the Hell did my father get my mother pregnant and have yet ANOTHER child, with a woman who had been put in psychiatric detention and treated for the attempted smothering of the most recent child that she bore him?

 

Of course, my father had passed away by that time, as the story goes; and I never got the answer from HIS mouth on that lingering query of mine. I have come to harbor rather strong beliefs about the intrinsic “rights” of certain women to bear children; I do not believe it is fair for those who are historically mentally unstable to pro-create as freely as those who have not shown any repeated inconsistencies in sound thinking and behaviors. Such instances create humans like me, or my late, little brother – or, the older one in my set of full-blooded siblings – we’re all challenged in some majorly handicapping way when it comes to social behaviors and/or mental illness. I’m still shocked that it was my baby brother and not me who ended up with schizophrenia as a very young adult.

I waited…and waited…and waited – waited to one day wake up and be “crazy” like my mom or just downright miserable and confused, afraid and aimless like my little brother had become. My brother was the natural kicking post in my family (natural to the Originals, at least) because he was the last in line, of a long line of boys (with the one exception of me) who are Scandinavian and Native-American by heritage and behaved much like a clan of cavemen, given the absence of any adult female in our household. I was the only one there to protect my little brother for, well – forever, since I can remember remembering. I was the only buffer between them and him, and I innately sensed a dire need to execute my power in this position day and night, all the time.  He was a sensitive spirit: quiet and observant; wise and very deep thinking; a true empath just the way that I am, too. Despite the fond recollections I have surrounding my childhood, the flip-side of it is that it was filled with the constant stress of worrying over my little brother’s well-being.This lasted until the moment he committed suicide in 1999, at age 19.

I begrudgingly buried JJ while I was still a domestic hostage to “the Ripper”, never really being able to openly or worthily mourn his tragic ending because “the Ripper” would become enraged by jealousy if I showed any sign of emotion for anyone other than Him. It was one of the very darkest periods of my existence, to my recollections…a very, deeply guilt-ridden and sad time for me.

Sometimes still, I catch myself pondering things that do not matter anymore, anyway; I often wonder if JJ ever used to have recurring dreams about our Mom turning her back on him, also.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE:

I am currently in my umpteenth attempt at making my own amends to, and forgiving past discrepancies of:

Our full-blooded Shawnee, medicated, therapy-involved, clean and sober Mother.

The “Whyer” (An Un-Secret Chronicle).

Toilet Seats and Vaseline.

 

In spite of the obvious answer to such wonderment, the young S was always genuinely shocked by the amount of time that she and her best friend spent in the dreary realm of “consequence” that one must visit upon being caught and deemed guilty of a thing; and her honest queries regarding this topic had J in regular meditation surrounding the (now, un-secret) adventures of she and her playmate.
S was a “why-er”; she was never satisfied with the answers that adults gave her on any subject, having been born deeply embedded with the distrust of the world’s top Conspiracy Theorists.
While daydreaming in after-school-detention (an almost daily trifle in their juvenile lives, Monday through Friday), S had the tendency to ponder she and J’s being there on the deepest of levels, following up the thinking spell by writing a four-page summary of her opinions on the scenario, crumpling the two sheets of paper into a hopelessly ink-smeared ball; and then, proceeding to chuck it at a professional baseball pitcher’s speed from across the room to J.
Once, upon being given an unsatisfactory answer (about the original scout of Mount Rainier) from an adult at a holiday party thrown by J’s somewhat uppity grandmother, S took a poll among the rest of the guests present, and had calculated and announced its results (which were, I should add, NOT in the favor of the original adult answer-giver, after all) before the party’s conclusion. S didn’t gloat, however.
It was times such as these that J wondered to herself in earnest:
How old will S and I be when we land ourselves in the slammer?
So it went, that through the childhood years of these two uniquely blended souls, and without fail, each and every time that the two of the youngsters found themselves in trouble, and subsequently paying the consequences or making amends for said trouble, J would find herself under a barrage of verbal bullets in the form of inquiries surrounding the miserable circumstances. It isn’t as if the S’ huge arsenal of ever-replenished appendages to the bottom line question of “why” bothered J; in fact, without the company of her best friend during her younger years of Life, J most certainly would have grown up to be much different in character and disposition, as S’ perpetually running interrogations undoubtedly molded J into the opinionated and exacting person she is, ever stimulated by the tickling in her young brain by S in this way.
It worked both ways, too; as S spent her time feeling an innate sense of alarm and impending danger at all times, as a direct result of the friendship shared between them. Hyper-vigilante S was always a little over-protective of dreamy J, and continues to be to this day; but during the days of their youth, the one always harbored a compelling notion of security towards the other. From the outside looking in on the girls’ connection, it certainly appeared a strange combination of traits that held the two girls so closely bound to one another, being as night and day different as they were.
For instance, S has the personality of a chucker, and resorted almost instantly to fist fighting (or worse) on the playground when she was faced with opposition of any kind (withstanding that of her beloved J); plotted hideously diabolical schemes, and launched the most elaborate of hoaxes and pranks against their natural childhood enemies when called to action. J, on the other hand, was much more apt to being soft and tended to shy away from confrontation, preferring to logically figure out the root cause of any differences that arose between her and others. There had been many times that after walking away from a situation that J was certain she had successfully hashed-out with a peer on the playground, only to be informed that the very same student had come by some horrible “accident” in the aftermath. A tell-tale sign of S’ inevitable involvement was the fact that during these particular instances, not a single “why?” was muttered to J in the whispered conversations that came in their wake.
The result of such variances in personality and behavior between the girls became the rough outline of the solid bond that can be observed today. Where many young children who foster un-becoming friendships during the years in Life when one is still uncertain of one’s own preferences, tend to grow out of such a role by high school, J and S honestly seemed to not notice the blaring contrast between them. The years passed by with only the pains and struggles of the Outside World touching the girls; and the cushion between the two of them, an element that allowed them to just “be” with each other, never softened or faded or burned out. If anything, the enchanted web woven throughout the days lived by them only served to strengthen and protect them from the Outside World and its never-ending stream of hardships.
In summary, the terrifyingly alert and disturbingly cool S that currently walks around scaring the Hell of people and totally lacking any verbal or mental filter, whatever, actually has a much more calm and nurturing side than most might suspect. J smiles to herself even now; to think of the handfuls of times that little S looked up at her so curiously and asked,

Why?”