I love the Goo Goo Dolls. The lead singer, John Rzeznik, and I both had a crazy upbringing. We were both also raised Catholic. And we are both sexy beasts…(you too Robby!..oh ok and Mike the drummer,…sheesh)
Here! Check this out!
One of my favorite songs of theirs is “Sympathy” and not because of what you think….I’ll explain in a minute.
So I didn’t blog for like a week. I was really agonizing over this piece I’m about to share with you. It’s called a Religious Odyssey. These should, in my opinion, be done by everyone. It makes you think about how you came to "Be". But many are completed by those that attend a Unitarian Universalist Church.….
This is my story. It’s not for the light hearted or innocent ears. It has some strong language and some fucked up situations. It’s a very loooong story (about 20 minutes or so). I also have changed the names to protect my family. My “Mother”, however, can go to hell…
I was born here in this large metropolis. I had the potential of having a wonderful life but alas it wasn’t to be so. It’s hard to explain.
My parents divorced when I was 2 or 3 years old. It was hard and a lot of details are in dispute. But as in those days my brother Stanley and I were to live with my mother. It wasn’t easy. My mother lives, “functions” with a severe mental illness. NPD. Narcisistic Personality Disorder. It wouldn’t be so bad except she also has Bipolar disorder. What does that mean? That means my mother used my brother and I as tools for her to get attention from others. Almost like Munchhausen by proxy. Anything from staged behaviors to bruises, sexually inappropriate jokes cutely told by a 4 year old girl in pigtails, broken noses for bad teacher notices, hair pullings, extension cords, fists, and other creative beatings. Sometimes she would even pull the car over first. She also would say or tell my brother and I things that may or may not have been true. Most times not. The kitten that was born yesterday is now for dinner. Your father has girlfriends that he loves more than you. She would “faint” at the grocery stores to make a scene. My brother and I were to just stand there. We were to act and speak (or not speak) and dress accordingly. She is also an addict…with at least 4 drugs that I know of.
When we did as we were told, we got love. A pat on the head. A look of approval. Otherwise ….you don’t wanna know.
The beatings started early. One time I remember vividly. I was in Kindergarten. I was so excited to tell my mother that I had learned to jump rope. I had always wanted to learn and the gym teacher has taught us that day. I picked it up right away and the teacher said I was very good at it. I liked jumping. I ran out of the school playground at the end of the day racing for the car. I thought I did everything correctly. I looked both ways before crossing the street to the car. But I was just 5, excited, and in a hurry. I ran out and almost got hit by another car. It scared my mother. But she didn’t react like a typical mother would. She told me as I got into the “I’m beating your ass when we get home.” I got scared. Sure enough when we walked into the door, she grabbed my pigtails, threw me to the floor and stomped me in the face. She then punched me around and sent me to my bed. Later my favorite uncle came over and heard that the car had ACTUALLY hit me. Since it was dark in my room, he didn’t notice that the tread marks on my face was from a shoe and not a tire.
At about 2nd grade, my mother decided we would be Catholic. It’s a very “showy” religion. Lots of crosses, and aerobics during service time. She told me I always was Catholic. She says that I was even baptized without my father’s consent. I have no recollection. She said the moment the holy water touched my head, I laughed the sweetest baby laugh and the bells of the church spontaneously rang, angels took flight yada yada yada… She also said when my brother was baptized he screamed like a demon and the sky got dark. ..whatever :/
I don’t remember much of 2nd grade. I was enrolled at one of the catholic schools here in town. My teacher was NOT a Sister, but a Mommy. :-D She was very kind and very pregnant. She had to leave our class before the end of the school year to have the baby. I immediately took to her. I do remember that during a parent encounter she told my mother that “I exuded love to everyone I met” Didn’t know what that meant but I assumed that because she was so nice that the comment was nice too.
4th grade wasn’t so nice. I had Sister MaryAnn for a teacher. I attended a different Catholic School here in town. Now sure why my mother didn't let us stay at the first one. One can only speculate. At any rate, it was awful. I got kicked a lot. And rulers were used if you didn’t hold your pencil correctly. Plus you had to go to mass every day. But no science was taught. At least not any I can remember. I was so glad when my mother said we weren’t to do to Catholic school anymore.
We had to move again. It was about here that things were getting harder to deal with. My baby brothers were born. I was about 10 or so. To save money she pulled us out of catholic school. I had to start learning how to change diapers. It was my job every time William was dirty to change him. I was 10. I liked it ok. He was born with severely clubbed feet so he had casts and correction splints. My mom would make fun of him. She called him ugly and said she had to cover his face to breast feed him. So I loved him with everything that I had. Still do to this day. He’s about 6 or 7 feet tall and weighs 300 lbs. Feet are basically normal. Football sized hulk of a guy and he’s my "wittle baby brudder-kins!":-D
I was taught about social justice which when I look back, its like very weird. I think my mother did it because it fed into her NPD scheme of thing. When I was about 12, my mother introduced me to her friend, Anna. Now this woman was beautiful! She had the perfect body, perfect boobs, everything! Her blonde hair was always in place. I was jealous. I wanted to grow up to have her body. Anna was married. Had been that way for over 10 years. Her husband Frank was nice. They had no kids but that didn’t stop Anna from decorating her house to the hilt every holiday.
Once day my mother told me she was sick and in the hospital. She wasn’t doing well. I asked to see her. I was told that I was underage and would have to lie to get onto the floor to see her. I didn’t understand why. So my mother and I went to the local hospital, It was 1985.
I walked into the room and saw her. Her hair was now gray and a VERY dark brown. She was bloated. Her long lashes gone,…she had stuble on her face. I didn’t really care. My mom told the nurse I was small for my age and actually 14 and not 12. Anna winked at me. I smiled and kissed her cheek back. She couldn’t talk.. She had a NG tube in., Her hand was swollen where the IV was. Her whole body was swollen. I sat down, took her sore hand in mine and told Anna all about the new dresses and shoes I saw at the store the other day. She loved fashion. And I kept seeing her wincing and getting mad. I wasn’t sure why. The nurse in the room was a coworker with my mother. She was updating my mother on Anna’s condition (way before HIPAA). And she kept saying “HE”. “He received a unit of blood” His T-Cell count was…”he he he” and I got mad.
I turned around and said to the nurse, “HER name is Anna! Get it right!” I was sure I was gonna get back handed or beat when I got home. I was actually ok with it. I would take a bloody nose or a shoe imprint on the face for that. Because it wasn’t right. And I loved her.
It turned out that Anna used to be called “Bob”. Anna had one more operation to go. But she got sick. And because of that lack of one operation, the medical profession, and legal profession still recognized her as a man.
It pissed me off.
My baby brother “Joshua” was about 7. He had brought home his 3rd conduct notice for that week from school. They wanted to talk to my mother. I couldn’t hide the notes or sign off on them anymore. She would have to see this one. So Joshua took it to her. She sent him to his room. I thought well that’s not bad! I started reading a book. All of a sudden I hear this blood curdling scream from Joshua’s room. And he kept screaming. For about 3 hours. We had no phone service. It got turned off again. I knew that if I left the house to find a phone, she would kill him. So I did what I thought was the next best thing. I told her to stop. She said she will when she’s tired. When she took a break to smoke a joint, I checked on him. He was kneeling praying to God for her to stop. I went downstairs and told her. She said “Well it didn’t work ‘cause I’m not done.” And she wasn’t. I was so pissed! At her, at me, she stole away his faith. My faith. And I failed to protect him. I felt that I had failed to act.
Joshua was in bad shape. She had to take him to the hospital. She made him tell the doctor he got beat up by some street kids. His front teeth fell out, never to return. My mother then committed him to the Kansas Institute. He was there for 2 months. She believed that her reason for the whole thing happening was that she never bonded to him. Her idea of fixing that problem was teaching him at the tender age of 7 to smoke a joint with her. I took over my house at that point and made my brothers and their well-being my responsibility. Even in their schools. I forged lunch account forms so my brothers could eat. My mother would refuse to fill them out every year. So there were many times I sat in the lunch room eating off of my friends trays or whatever they wanted to share with me. I ended up having to steal what money she had in her wallet so I could eat at school once in a while. I hated that and I wasn’t proud of it.
I still went to church. I don’t know why. I took my brothers with me so they would be safe. It was a place where they could be normal kids for a while. I didn’t really feel it anymore. I knew there was no God. Because if there was why didn’t he save us from my mother. Why were we starving? It got to a point where I was to be confirmed. I had given birth to my daughter. I was just 16. My mother was horrible. She even got mad one time and tried to beat me again. I looked her in the eye and said “Can we hurry this along? I have to pee.” She knew I wasn’t scared of her anymore. But she REALLY hated me. I had ruined her life by getting pregnant. Never mind I was making straight A’s in Military school and had received acceptance to 6 different colleges across the state. She didn’t have a perfect daughter anymore. I wasn’t really worried that the bishop would not grant my request for confirmation. I was going through the motions. But then I started to not-so-silently rebel. I started an issue in my confirmation class. I refused to go to confession.
I didn’t believe that I should sit in a booth or tell a priest want I did wrong to someone else. And why is HE forgiving me? I would have rather go to the person and say sorry myself. It didn’t make sense to me and I was very vocal about it. And that whole blood and body thing? EWWWWWW! I am not a cannibal and never want to be! Unless I’m stuck in the mountains somewhere (rump roast anyone?)
I didn’t go to any of the good colleges that accepted me. They were all too far away from my little brothers and I couldn’t take them with me. So I stayed at home as long as I could and went to Penn Valley. Life again happened. My brothers got older and I was able to move away.
When I was 25 years old, I was divorced with 3 kids. I was almost done with my BS from a decent university. I went in for a check up and later got called back into the doctor’s office. He sat me down, told me to get a will and a guardian for my kids. He was waiting for the 3rd confirmation test to come back but he was pretty sure. I was diagnosed with adenosquamous carcinoma stage III. As close to terminal cancer you can get and not just give up. So I fought. He scheduled surgery, chemo, and radiation right away. He gave me 2 weeks to get everything in order. My kids were 4, and 2. I was scared so I called everyone. I called my dad who had just moved from LA to be closer to me. We had so much to catch up on and now it seemed as if there wasn’t enough time. I told my daughter’s school and the boys daycare director. Then I went to my local catholic church. I figured that “Once a Catholic Always a Catholic” held true. I told the priest I was sick and dying. The priest said and I quote “We’ll pray for you.” And no one in the church helped me. One day after a horrible cryotherapy treatment session, the boys were at the daycare director’s house. My daughter was at school. I tried to get to my bathroom. I was very weak and I fell. I don’t know how long I laid there. But someone came. This nice lady knocked on my door and came in. She helped me get cleaned up, did 2 loads of laundry, cleaned the house, and brought my family food. I had never met her before. I don’t remember her name but she said she was from some “Unity University”. I was just grateful she was there. My cancer came back 3 times that year before I finally beat it. In the process I had suffered brain damage from a fever of 105 and had to go through memory re-training. Things like how to drive a car, change a diaper, understand spoken English, and keep a planner so I wouldn’t forget appointments or hen my kids needed to get to school. And I wouldn’t see that lady again until almost 7 years later.
Jump ahead. Going through a divorce a 2nd time. I had graduated from college with my BS in Biology and 3 minors: Chemistry, CJ, and Forensics because knowledge is power. And working on my Masters because I love learning about how to get rid of dead bodies J I am at a party of a friend. She had been trying to get me out of the house for weeks. She says I was too involved with my kids. What ever! There holding a diet mountain dew in his hand, is this kid. He doesn’t look old enough to be a freshman in high school let alone college. He was VERY Geeky…which in my book made him very cute! He was talking a lot about science and logic and math. And I thought, what a hottie! He even took time to talk to my kids. That was pretty cool too J That geek turned out to be 31 year old, no glasses, no mustache, Isaac. We started talking. He thought I was pretty hot too which works for me. He was telling me that he was an atheist and a believer in truth and logic and science. He didn’t believe in God or the Devil or heaven or hell. But, “Do you want to go to church with me?” Wow…um…..really? He followed me home that night and never left my side.
So after all that I’ve been through, you may wonder what I believe. Family is my religion and everyone is family. I believe to seek the truth in all things, with love. I believe that it’s my responsibility, my duty, to teach my children the concept of “truth, compassion, and love”. If you have those tools behind you, then you can truly change the world. I believe that family and community are intertwined and should be nurtured. I also believed that all relationships should be fostered. That it’s up to you to change this world for the better. There is no God that will save you. But there ARE angels that work in kindness and demons that are blinded by selfishness. But all have the potential to change lives for the better. This is the path I have chosen.