I am going to start this off by telling you I have a rather petite frame. Though I wear medium shirts in men’s sizes, my bone structure is on the smaller size. I have been known to find my jeans in the adolescent section of department stores by mistake, not knowing I was not in the adult section. Which has caused others to feel embarrassed, but it always amuses me. I wear medium shirts in men’s sizes (and usually large in women’s) because my shoulders, for my frame, are rather broad. I have great difficulty finding dresses that fit due to this, or long-sleeve shirts. Do not even get me started on jackets, as I also have incredibly long arms. Yes; I realize I am starting to sound like a lanky circus freak; I am not. Well, I mean, I AM, but not proportionately speaking. It is hard not to be considered somewhat freaky to many people when you have this many tattoos, stretched earlobes and unnaturally-coloured hair. And watches. I cannot buy a watch that fits unless it has a leather band and I cut extra holes in it. My wrists are so petite but attached to them are incredibly large hands, for a woman. I always have to buy large or extra large gloves. And extra large hats, too. My daughter has also informed me I have Vulcan ears. Aren’t kids sweet?
I swear, this has a purpose.
We often forget of what we are capable in our struggles for every day life and happiness. In our daily pursuits, it is often too easy to forget what we’ve overcome in our quests to overcome new obstacles. I was recently reminded of this as a memory from nearly 9 years ago came rushing back to briefly overtake my conscious thought.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, January 2006, my life was a living hell. Everything was in constant turmoil, an ever-changing state of chaos. None of it was particularly good. My now-ex-husband was not what you would call a “good” person in any sense of the word. There was no support of any kind, be it financial, physical nor emotional. He was abusive in every sense, and took nearly every chance he could to tear me down. I don’t recall now when it began, but that really does not matter. Sometime in mid-January, something happened that set him off. I could probably remember if I tried really hard, but pulling memories back causes intense headaches, so we’ll skip that. I was sitting at my computer desk working on something when he came in and turned my chair over with me in it. He ended up knocking the door off its hinges. He picked the door up and began trying to slam it down on me, yelling how he was going to send me and “that abomination” back to hell. Yes, our daughter. I kept rolling out of the way until I was trapped between him and a keyboard. I stuck my left hand out, caught the door, twisted my hand, and felt, heard a sickening crack. He picked up the door again, threw it over me and began jumping on it. This part I barely felt. Not because my wrist hurt, but because I am.. Well, let me simply state I can take and give pain and I know how to place my body to even out weight. He continued jumping for several minutes, then he jumped off and left the room. He yelled that I was going to clean up the mess. He began throwing things in to the room, breaking them. Figurines I had been collecting since I was a child of Native Americans, pictures, et cetera. He tore a huge mandela a friend had given me off the wall, ripped the hand-cured and -treated leather, shredded it. At some point, he threw something around the doorway that hit my head. To this day, I’ve no clues what it was, and really, does it matter? Whatever it was hit my head. It was sharp enough, it hurt enough I did not feel it. I was busy cleaning up everything else when I realized I could not see. The shock, the damage was so great, so immediate, I was in shock nearly instantly. I thought I was blind. I wiped my eye, felt it was wet, looked at my hand and saw red, and it didn’t click. Hey, I wasn’t blind! I can see! And suddenly I went blind in my right eye again. I blinked, felt something stick to my eye. Well, my eye is open, but.. I called his name. He came in, yelling, then.. “oh.. shit!” I just looked at him.. what is wrong, I wondered? I blinked again, and still felt something sticking to my eye. As it turns out, I had about a 4″ gash across my head that was pouring blood. Thankfully, we went hiking a lot and had a very well-provisioned medical kit which included some stop-bleed materials that worked. About 45 minutes, some fishing line, a flesh needle, three sutures and three shots of Bacardi 151 later, I was all sewn up. At home. Because he was too pussy to call an ambulance, and I was too fucked up to do it myself. and his other girlfriend, who went to get the fishing line, wouldn’t. Yes; you read that right. After that, he was incredibly caring the rest of the night. Classic symptoms of an abuser. But I do remember later that night my left wrist had swollen up larger than a baseball. Again, remember my wrist is tiny. I can nearly wear children’s bracelets. I can’t *quite* fit them over my hand, but it’s a close thing. He decided it was “dislocated” and he was going to “pop it back in”. Well, he did. Heh.. I blacked out. I was told, when I came back to myself across the room huddled behind a loveseat.. that I clawed him and jumped… 6 months pregnant, mind.. I jumped over the coffee table and the loveseat in one single bound, holding my wrist, to get away from him.
I don’t remember much after that night until the following September, so it is not surprising I forgot this incident until someone mentioned something that sparked the memory. Head wounds are funny things….when you lose memory of most of your life, the strangest things can bring a memory rushing back. And fuck, does it hurt like hell when they come back, sometimes.
About a week or two later, he was trying to prove something to the girlfriend, so he grabs me by the left hand.. the one, I found out later, he broke. He holds my hand up, palm to his palm, and laces his fingers in mine. He then flips our hands upside down and proceeds to exert pressure, trying to put me on my knees.
If you read my posts, you might have noticed I am a stubborn cunt. Period.
I am a survivor.
No matter how dark, deep, despairing and bad shit gets..
I do NOT give up.
I don’t give a good god damn FUCK what is going on, I do not give up. I might give up on a situation or a person (including me)..I might even give up on certain aspects of life…but I am still here. Even on the night I remember so clearly I was sure he was going to kill me.. When I knew I was going to die and made peace with that, I still did not just roll over and accept it. I made peace with Death (big D), I did not succumb to it.
He kept exerting more and more pressure. I looked at him. I looked him square in the eyes (at this point in my life, I had mastered the art of looking at the bridge of someone’s nose, but never – ever – in to their eyes) and I started pressuring back. I let my right hand go entirely limp. I squared off my legs, I settled them and planted them. I set and settled my shoulders. I set my hips and angled them slightly. I turned my left wrist a little, and I fucking pushed back. I put more pressure on, he pressured back. I felt another crack in my wrist. My eyes didn’t waver, though my mouth did slightly. He grinned. I felt everything in me go cold, calculated. I felt the still calmness go over me that always comes now, when I know I have to survive. And I put more pressure in to that hold. I angled my wrist up and pushed him down slightly. his knees started to shake, his smile slipped, his eyes hardened. He pushed back, but I was locked. And I watched him go down, hard, to one knee, and I fucking held him there. I held him there longer than I had to, and I looked down at him, in to his eyes, and I saw for the briefest moment, the look of fear he kept trying to find in my eyes that I’d never give him. And then I saw his anger. I pushed more pressure down the length of my arm to show him I wasn’t even close to tapping, I wasn’t even close to the end of my strength, and then, only then, did I let him go. And then I walked off, never having said a single word.
We often forget what we have survived and accomplished in the wake of what we are trying to do NOW. We cannot live in our pasts, but sometimes taking a stroll back there for a brief moment can remind us we really are capable of doing this, too, whatever “this” is.
I no longer have a problem meeting anyone’s eyes. My wrist always hurts, my head always hurts. But I will always look you in the eye.