Saturday, April 26, 2008

BP D Continued

Junior high school was my training ground for looking like I had friends, while giving nothing away. I got good grades--always had, I skied well, dressed well, and hung with the edgy kids. I didn't ask questions and didn't answer them. At home I was sullen and angry all the time. I hated my parents and knew I had good reason. But I looked so normal. At night I would roam around throwing rocks at street lamps. I got pretty good with rock throwing, and hiding in the dark.

By now I knew my grandmother was an alcoholic and my grandfather was a pill popping hypocrite bastard. I refused to attend Sunday dinner at their house anymore. My father was a child molester and my mother was a cruel bitch. I could no long hold my hatred and contempt inside. I had been raised by the queen of the eviscerating tongue-lashing. I had mastered that art at her knee. Now I turned this hard won skill on my own family. I never called any of them out, but I could hold my own in any argument. It became the family pastime. At least once a day Maggy would say, "What did I do to deserve this?" And I would roll my eyes.

My third year of junior high, my parents decided I needed to see a psychologist. Who did they choose? A family friend, of course. Bob Johanson was a colleague of both my father and my grandfather. I knew his screwed up kids. I was by now an undeniable beauty, unsettlingly sexy. I used this power and my wit to seduce and play with Bob. Within several months, we were doing lunch instead of doing "therapy." You might think it was a gutsy move on my parents part to put me in therapy--a girl with such volatile family secrets, but actually it was a pretty safe bet. I knew my dad and grandfather had the power to have me locked up in some little private institution. I thought Bob would give them the ammunition they needed. So I got Bob on my side by intellectual sparing and flirting. It worked amazingly well. He told me I was brilliant.

To be continued...

And The Award Goes To ...

Anita at anitaxanax, who gives me poetry once a week when I always need it. How does she know just the right poem, just the right Poet? To Anita with the courage to play tag with strangers and trust us all. To Anita with a heart so big she can tell the truth, even when it hurts. Anita, this E's for you, soul sister.

Bipolar Disorder

I have had mental health problems since I was in my early teens. Any of you who have read a chapter or two of my book, Maggy, can probably figure out why. (And for any of you who haven't, it is now posted on it's own site called Maggy.)

At first my problems were attributed to adolescence. I was clumsy, moody, angry, and rebellious. When younger I had been an inquisitive child, talkative and curious. But at eleven I withdrew into my own private hell. I had learned that no adults were trustworthy. And because so much of my childhood was unmentionable, I could not reveal myself to other kids. I trusted no one. And it was during this early adolescence that I withdrew into the world of books.

It was also during this time that I began to disobey my parent's in every way I could. I had not been allowed to attend the Mormon Church. When younger I had occasionally spent a Saturday night at my friend Enid's house and the gone to church with her family on Sunday morning. I did not have to conceal this sneaky business to my parents, since they were never up early on Sunday morning. By the time I got back from church with the Olsons and changed back into my own casual clothes and gone home, my parents were just starting to fix breakfast, having just finished their first Bloody-Mary's. But now I went to the Mormon Church every chance I got--which was often. The Mormon's create a social life for their children that is quasi-religious. So, after listening to a small amount of readings from the Book of Mormon, the socializing begins. There were dances every week, and this became the part of my rebellion I lived for.

It was at one of these dances that I met my first boyfriend. His name was Larry. He was sixteen. I was twelve. This put me at odds with my friend Enid, because her older sister was friends with Susan Graham who had a crush on Larry. I didn't care. I was falling in love.

One night after a dance, Larry walked me home. We talked as we walked and Larry held my hand all the way home. It was dark and the gaslit lamp atop a pole in our lawn was the only light. We stood there by that lamp, talking softly. Then Larry bent down to my upturned face and kissed me on my lips. I did not kiss like a twelve year old. I returned that kiss with my own, lips parted, soft tongue exploring his surprised mouth. Then our door opened and my mother said, rather too loudly, "Get your ass in here, this instant."

The next morning at breakfast my parents started an inquisition that went on for hours. The only detail I remember from this "conversation" was my father's question, "Why do you think a boy sixteen would be interested in you?"
"Because I'm a good dancer. Because I'm smart and nice?"
"No! The only reason a boy his age would be interested in you would be to get in your pants!"
This conversation ended when I ran upstairs and slammed my door.

I kept seeing Larry, trying to prove my parents wrong, but in reality, despite the fact that Larry and I did talk about literature lots, did dance often, he really did want to get in my pants. But it wasn't exactly the getting in my pants that bothered me so much, since my daddy had been there for years. It was his wanting to touch my new breasts that bothered me the most. When Daddy was getting in my pants I had no breasts. So Larry's interest in my breasts seemed most to confirm my parents assessment of my worth. And then Larry got tired of my squeamishness and moved on to girls his age.

To be continued...