The end of Childhood as Horror movie!

Heroin syringe

Heroin syringe (Photo credit: Thomas Marthinsen)

I am not sure when he stopped.

My therapist has asked me several times, if I was scared of getting pregnant. I don’t remember. Pain in my childhood covered my memory and made so many things disappear, just to reappear as fragments. Not all of them are frightening or dangerous, or in the PTSD-category, like some of the things I have described earlier. Most are just undiscovered memories, as if you would look through old photo albums. That’s ok.

So I don’t remember if I was scared of getting pregnant. At first I guess I didn’t know how one did get pregnant, it wasn’t included in my sisters version of the flowers and the bees. As I got just a bit older, and understood more, I was also able to get away more easily.

My day would be like:

  • school (not every day)
  • going to town for music lessons (as much as I could) or to the library
  •  just going to town, hang out with people I thought about as friends, usually a lot older than me.
  • getting home too late, and go straight to my room.
  • if he was home, and not one of his travels, I’d think twice (at least) on what to do. Sometimes I’d just get out again through the window immediately. Sometimes I’d wait for a while. Sometimes I tried to sleep. If I got out, I would come back at 4:30 or 5, and get two hours of sleep before having to start another day.

I always had top grades at school, even though I never made an effort, and in periods, I couldn’t have gone more than every other day. Sometimes teachers would try to talk to me, and they said they would call him. My respons would be “so what?” People must have known though. Someone in school, the pill-pushing idiot of a doctor, someone in that very very sick home I had.

I ran away several times. Once my sister saw me, she was going to work on a very early morning shift. Saw me, ran to grab me, and called him. I couldn’t believe she would do that!

Once I told my friends at school that I was going to far away, to another country. For like forever. After two days, they told the police that. After two days, even he got worried. I was in my hiding place by the sea. I don’t recall what happened as I got back.

At 13 I met this boy who lived by himself. He was 18. Which meant free alcohol, many funny pills, and the introduction to smack (H, skag or whatever you call it). I did only one serious suicide attempt, the plan was to pop all the pills I could find, and top it off with a shot. Problem was that the pills were still in their packages, so I had to press them out one by one. I started taking ten, and then ten more… when I woke up again, I had the syringe in my arm, and there was some blood. Some 26 hours had passed. So it must have been a close call. After that, at 16, I came off hard drugs, on my own.

Last term at school, I had put my life together, sort of. I was normal, like the others. I thought so anyway.

These last few weeks of writing has been quite intense. If my mind doesn’t come up with more ugly flashback, the things I have told about here are the worst. It’s not all. but maybe it is the parts that needed to be told the most.

At 16, I met my first husband, we married when I was 18. At 25, my father died on one of his many journeys. That was when I started remembering. I had some 25 years of f***ing up my life, and by next year, I have use 25 years trying to mend. The story is not over.

Pain is good

I was too young. That morning I woke up with a terrifying pain in my lower tummy. Nobody ever told me about it, they probably thought it could wait for another couple of years. I must have been 11. I’m not going to go into too gory details here, but waking up with what looked like two litres of blood in my bed, made me think I was dying.

Of course I didn’t tell anyone. Dying was an ok option, he couldn’t hurt me anymore.

Well I didn’t die… and my effort to try to hide this from the world using huge amounts of toilet paper and hiding the sheets was not successful. It was my sister that told me what this was all about, she was 17.

My excruciating pain had me in bed for three days a month. And more painkillers were introduced. Nobody knew about the broken arm painkillers from a year back, and now I got more.

I got proper sleep. I got painless days. I imagine my body to be a tight bundle of hard strung muscles that would never let go and loosen up. The pills made me relax.

I wonder what the doctor must have thought. Did I appear to be a normal little girl? Did anyone see through the picture perfect family he tried to create?

My pain threshold became lower each month…

My period also gave me a break, he would leave me alone.

In one of my flashbacks I cut myself wanting lots of blood to keep him away. I don’t think it happened often, it could have happened just once.

Pain gave me relief.

Burnt child

One of my friends and her family went to visit her uncle. I got to come along, being the girl without a mother that people felt sorry for. It must have been one of the school holidays, it was more than two nights. But there was a weekend during those days we spent there. A house on the countryside, as the fruit trees blossomed. Sunshine.  A farm. I am scared of cows. They smell bad too.

We borrowed two really huge mens bicycles to get a couple of kilometers to the petrol station, it must have looked ridiculous, we didn’t reach the pedals. It was all downhill. We wanted ice cream and sweets, maybe it was a Saturday. Day for treats.

I went to the to the back, to go to the toilet. I didn’t realize I was followed. Couldn’t get away either. He put one hand over my small breasts and the other down my panties. He said I liked it. He smelled of petrol and grease and tobacco. He let me go again, and I don’t remember the way uphill. Don’t remember any ice cream. Never told anyone. Not until now.

That night, we went to a party, or, no, not a party. Kids (though some over 18) getting together, playing music. There were a few beers there, and as the older ones got a bit drunk, no one cared about me, or my friend. Well she did, I probably told her to shut up or something. Or went on talking to someone else. Then some real booze came on the table. Nobody could just go buy it, it was expensive, and hard to find someone over 18 to buy. So it was homemade, and awful.

That didn’t bother me much. I drank until I was unconscious, woke up vomitting, drank some more. It was my first time.

The next day we sat talking in a field. My friend and me, and some of the others, probably agreeing it was a good party last night. One of the real cool boys sat in a tree, I liked him.

Then I set fire to the dry grass, and it spread very fast. I burnt my hand. Fire engines didn’t come for more than half an hour.

The others covered for me, but I was never invited again.

The smell of summer

English: Hyacinthoides non-scripta (Common Blu...

English: Hyacinthoides non-scripta (Common Bluebell). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We used to have our vacations at the house where my family originated from. My granddad moved to «town». Before that, before WW2 the family lived in a little house in a little place, in a bay, surrounded by high mountains. We had the north winds coming in every afternoon. It could be a bit cold. I remember the smell of all the flowers and the grass in the field. The smell of summer. I picked bluebells. That little house used to give me a break from the terror at home.

We went fishing in the river nearby, for large salmon and trout. My granddad told stories of a bear hunt, from way back. I never believed it was true, imagined it was something he made up just to make a good story. Some years back, I found that it was actually true. There had been a real big bear in the area, and it got shot, not by my granddad, but by someone nearby that he knew. (Probably relatives, it is a VERY little place). It was a good story!

I loved swimming in the river. I put on a diving mask and fins, and snorkel for hours in that ice cold water, snow melting water. I swam up the river, some hundred metres, and drifted down again. Sometimes I saw salmons more than half my size. I wouldn’t move at all, and we were just eyeing each other out, before she would hurry upstream, and I had no chance of following, drifting downstream. My body not shaped for that purpose at all.

We used to have boiled eggs for breakfast.

We went fishing in the sea too. My brother and I went out with the dinghy, it wasn’t that small, we had an outboard on it.  Once we found ourselves in the middle of the boiling sea, I had never seen anything like it. Pollock swim together in large flocks, and then sometimes, something scares them from down under, and they surface. There were thousands. Like the area of a soccer field, boiling with jumping fish. Imagine sitting there on a sunny day, with a lazy fishing rod outside the boat, and suddenly everything was total chaos. We caught about 60 of them, before they went under again.

I remember my mother coming to the house by the seaside. I sensed she was on edge; I couldn’t have been more than five. She wanted me to wear a life vest all the time. Once, she took us out in the boat, not far, and we lowered a little anchor to have the boat stay at one place when fishing. When she started the outboard again, she’d forgotten about it, and the propellers cut the rope.

She started to cry. I imagine she was afraid he would get angry. I cried to, because she was afraid.

When I got older, must have been 12, we had a new and larger boat. My brother and I had an argument on the boat, I have no idea what it was about. But it ended with him saying he was going to kill me.

I didn’t go out fishing with him for a long time after that. Once he asked me why. I told him, and he said he never meant anything by it. He had probably forgotten about it.

I went swimming instead. No one saw me cry.

Oh, it just felt so good!

Two little pills, I got to relax, sleep, and I didn’t feel any pain. I guess I had been on edge ever since my mother died, no, before that. Ever since I got into the habit of hiding. Ever since we moved to the large house with the big garden.

I told the doctor that I had fallen, he asked why I came alone, I said there was no one who could follow me.

He waited outside in the car, impatient, I imagine.

The doctor called to find my parents. I knew where he was, so I had no worries about that. This was before mobile phones… But I didn’t want the doctor to speak to him; he might think I said something wrong. It was a nice doctor, he held his hand on my shoulder and told me it would be ok. For an instant there, I believed him, and started to cry. He found a nurse to take me to x-ray, and promised that he would see me again, afterwards.

My left arm had broken, just over the wrist, not very serious really.

I just had to get out of my room, he was in there. I was sitting on the bed, he sat on my desk chair, I made a go at it. I had to get out. I wasn’t fast enough. So my arm broke.

He took me to the hospital, he didn’t speak in the car. I was just sliding into pain, and letting the pain in my arm be me. I had learned how to do that, indulge in pain, being silent and numb, out of reach.

I remember the warm lovely feeling of getting the cast on, the nurse told me how good I was doing. I really didn’t want to go out of there again. Before I went, the doctor gave me a glass of pills to take home, he said to give it to my mother to have her look after it. I promised I would. I could take one pill when the pain was too much, but no more than twice a day. And two pills at night.

The first night I put all kinds of things in front of my bedroom door, so that there would be a lot of noise if he was to come in. I slept.

The second day I endured the pain all day, to be able to take more pills as the night came. I sneaked out quite early, and didn’t come home for bed time. I slept like a baby, probably for the first time since I was a baby… At one of my hiding places by the sea.

I was ten. A child, a grown-up. I knew how to take care of myself.

Only safe when I was alone, only safe when I trusted no one.

To the other side and back

My first grade teacher was pregnant all the time, at least that’s how I remember it. I think I might have tried to make a connection somehow. It failed as she went away on leave. We had a substitute teacher when the first Mother’s day came. Cardboard paper cuttings, making silly looking cards for Mother. I could hardly remember her face, all the pictures we had, photo albums, wedding pictures, it was all gone.

I sat there doing nothing.

The teacher would say; “I can help you, what colour would you like it to be?”
“I don’t have a mother”, I’d say. Being rather cheeky about it, knowing that I couldn’t let anyone inside my lack of feelings.
She asked: “Why, everybody’s got a mother?”
“She died”, I said.
The first year I ended up doing something silly for my grandmother, his mother. The second year I made a drawing of “there must be something you would like to draw”. The third year I didn’t show up for school before Mother’s day.

All other occasions were difficult too, like making presents for birthdays and Christmases, I hated making things for him.

Other children would ask me why I didn’t have a mother. I said she died. It must have been scary for them. I learnt how not to feel anything. Once I almost started to cry, as one of my friends cried, I am not sure why. I hope I was sad, I hope I felt something, but I am not sure. And I learnt to see those situations coming, new teachers, parents day at school, Christmas plays, concerts… those were days of special alert. No-feeling-days.
I had few friends, but they were quite close, three, I think, but rarely more than one at the time. They knew what to avoid. The only way I could be together with other girls was to be a bit tougher, a bit rougher around the edges; always being the one who stuck my head out. I had a quick answer to anything, and nobody would know that this was the wrong way of coping. Least of all me.

I survived.

I loved to swim. Once I swam from our beach over to the other side. I guess it’s almost three kilometres each way. When I got close to shore on the other side, I waited for a huge ship to pass. Then I swam back. I was 11 I think. Big enough to not tell any friends that I was going to run away, they would tell… big enough to stop hiding in the garden, where he would find me… big enough to get out of the house from my tiny veranda on the second floor. I climbed down a pillar, and made sure that there was something to thread on in the shingle I had to pass to get to the lawn. Without making noises. I use to remember to always have some sneakers in my room, and threw them out on the lawn. Big enough to get out of the way when things got dangerous, without making a sound.

In the summer I had friends staying over. We put up a tent in the garden, and read comics till late with flashlights. We made breakfast and ate outside. We went swimming together in the sea. It was fun. Safe.

I sometimes slept in my brothers’ room at weekends, but he never liked it. We didn’t have much in common. Or maybe, we could never speak of what we might have had in common. Still can’t.

I never had my own room till after my mother died. He rebuilt some of the second floor after that. I got a small room, with a veranda, and a way of getting out. As I’ve written earlier, the house was old and worn, and there was not a floorboard that didn’t have its own sound. Sometimes I knew he was coming and I was too late. I couldn’t get out. I HATED the colour of that room. It was like mint green-ish… like hospitals…

Other nights I went out anyway. Just in case. I went down to the sea, sat there looking and listening to the waves, thinking.
Sometimes I cried, I think mostly because I was so tired. And I thought of swimming. Then I would think that it was so cold, and that I WOULD make both over to the other side and back, anyway.

What would you do? How would it make you feel?

As I have written earlier, something recently happened. It made me re-think, make some new choices, take some decisions. It was what made me make this blog, in a kind of “I am that strong”-way. I dare to share what happens to me. Writing it down can’t hurt me.

This one is not easy though. But here I go:

It was Thursday, week before last one. It was an ordinary day, maybe I was a bit more tired or worn out then I usually am, I had been working for 60 hours that week.

I went to bed, as usual, listened to my Deep Sleep app and fell asleep. It must have been just over two hours. I woke up, terrified, thinking there was someone in the house. If I hadn’t been alone, I would have woken my husband and told him, I’m sure.

It was like in those British crime series, old house, squeaking stairs, murder in the library-kind of thing. I heard that kind of squeaking noise.

I didn’t get out of the room, but I did get out of bed, really terrified. I shook off the feeling, remembering that the alarm was on, and that particular squeaking noise does not happen in our relatively new house. So I knew…
This is not happening now, it’s a memory from many many years ago, in my childhood home. It is stored some strange place in my brain, wanting to leap out and hurt me from time to time. And with that rather sensible thought I went to bed again, feeling ok with that, (sometimes things like that can make me stay awake for the rest of the night, or several hours at least).

I have no idea if I fell asleep again, and I have no idea of time or place for the next hours. I got lost.
What I do remember is pain, my whole body is just pain, blood red pain, so strong that I can’t move. I have “lost” my arms, they don’t rise up to defend me. I don’t see anything, it is dark. I sense the smell of tobacco.  I can’t breathe, there’s this vague feeling that a knee is over my throat and neck, and also a short instant where all the pain is just leaving my body, just to come back again. It hurts. And it never stops. I think that I MUST breathe. And I feel so scared I just loose any other feelings.
Next thing I remember is that I am in the bathroom with a pair of scissors. Sitting on the floor bleeding. The two first cuts are not in my memory, the third I remember, (and that one is not that deep). Feeling the warm blood, feeling the pain released from “everywhere” to three cuts on my thigh, just makes me feel good, right there and then. It’s 5:30 in the morning, I start to cry.

I don’t know how old I was when this memory was created. I think I remember cutting myself as a child, but haven’t for like 30 years.

I am still scared about what happened.

How would you handle something like this?