I have vivid dreams. I feel things, I smell things, I taste them. I know backstory. I remember what I dream in minute detail. I have night terrors and I have trouble waking up sometimes – sleep paralysis I think it’s called. I have nightmares – Stephen knows about that shit and he’s really. fucking amazing about being woken up in the night by a semi coherent clingy and freaked out hedgehog. Thanks, buddy.
When I was pregnant the dreams were not dialed down, no. They weren’t any worse but of course they were about baby. Any new parent is going to have questions about competence and shit like that, I think. I had never ever had a kid around me before, never mind a baby. I didn’t know *anything* about them, not even how to hold one. And I had a history of alcoholism – HAVE a history, I have a history and I always WILL have that history and predisposition towards alcohol addiction – of S.I. – or S.H. or S.M. or whatever the fuck you call it. Personally, I call it cutting and so that’s what I’ll say from now on. Self Injury/Harm sounds to tame and poofty and and Self Mutilation still makes me give you the evil eye – I never thought of it as mutilation and I never look at my arms and think they’re ugly or mutilated. They’re scarred, and they’re scarred because I cut. So.
I just basically had a history of being fucked up, taking frequent breaks from reality, of living in squalor with my girlfriend – who I loved but who did nothing good for my mental well being, of being broke and scared and fat and dirty and ugly. Of being depressed and angry and going in and out of the hospital and talking to mental health fuckers who either sucked at what they did, or who couldn’t help me because I wouldn’t let them and didn’t know HOW to, of 2 suicide attempts that landed me in the hospital. That was, and that is, and that always will be my history. That was what my teens were like.
OH WHAT”S THAT?! MY *TEENS*. YEAH. I WAS A KID.
I have to remind myself of that sometimes. I broke up with my GF when I was 19, moved out of our shared apartment and into my own place when I was 20, got a clean job that got me talking to people and learning new things and brought me out of my comforting schlub zone, and yeah – I kept drinking. Sometimes I was bare broke because I drank so much. Sometimes I missed work because I was hungover or just having a day of panic attacks brought on by the drinking. I wasn’t cured, but I was getting better. It took time. There were still panic attacks. Still nightmares and psychotic breaks. Still fuck ups and fights with my parents and fear and loathing. But I was getting better.
When I was 21 I met my husband. We’d been talking online for a long time, and knew each other from when I was younger – 15 or so, and lemme tell you if he initially thought I was an asshole with mental problems, he was right, I was peaking right about then – but we’d both changed. Lots. He didn’t fix me and he didn’t try – he’s not like that, he let me be who I was and deal with my shit. But knowing him, and living with him, and seeing that he saw worth in me – that helped me along, too. We got together December 2006, he moved back to Whitehorse in June 2007, and in December of that year we found out I was pregnant.
I started drinking when I was what – 14? Stealing my parent’s booze. By the time I was 15 I had older friends and money and I was drinking nearly everyday. I’d say the bg problem started then. So it was like, BOOM. After 6 years of heavy drinking and more or less functional alcoholism I was pregnant, I was so happy, and I never even craved the booze for one second of the whole 9 months. Sure, sometimes I wanted a beer. Or I’d have a drag of my friend’s cigarette – I stopped smoking almost immediately but took a drag here and there for the first 3 months – and think “Man, a rum and coke…” but no cravings, no mental itching until it hurt for some booze. HA! The cure for the addiction: pregnancy. I’m a lucky one, I know it isn’t easy for many women.
But the dreams. I had all this behind me. And then the dreams came. The nurses at the hospital – who knew me from my past hospitalizations – wouldn’t let me have the baby. In many dreams, I’d have the baby and it would be whisked away and hidden and I’d get a doll to look after. I remember desperately trying to nurse the doll and failing and being told my baby was being put up for adoption because of my failure. I used to wake up crying and aching and scared. I would dream that the doctors would tell me I wasn’t really pregnant, that I’d dreamed it or forgotten what “real” was again. I’d dream that I’d accidentally leave the baby in the house, that it would start crying and a neighbor would call CPS – so many many times I arrived back home to see my crying baby being loaded into the back of a van REACHING for me, crying until they were sick for me, but not being allowed to touch her or even ride in the back with her. I dreamt of the baby being born with FAS – I saw her being handed to me by very solemn and dark eyed nurses and looking down to see that she had no philtrum. I remember the look on my husband’s face when HE saw. I dreamt that I’d forget about her somewhere – in the car, under the bed, in a closet – and that I’d find her days later, dead, cold, stiff. My fault.
I still have those dreams. Not as often. And they don’t scare me as much. Remembering them and how scared and guilty I was at times really upsets me – I haven’t really thought about those dreams I guess. I’ve joked about them to my husband, I know that. But that was surface – I don’t actually feel flippant about them in the slightest.
So knowing all that now – assuming you’ve read this far – how the fuck do you think it made me feel when I was wheeling around my newborn daughter and someone who “knew” me from back then stopped me in amazement and proclaimed themselves shocked SHOCKED that I was a mother. That I had a baby. One asshole actually asked me if I had custody of her and baby, that fucking broke my heart and made me feel like a cockroach. This bitch who I’d seen messy drunk and high on cocaine while caring for her two young daughters asking me if she was Mine or if I was just allowed to take her for a walk today. Bank tellers who would pat me on the hand patronizingly and tell me how glad they were that I wasn’t “off in my own little world” anymore and that I was taking *such* good care of my daughter.
How the fuck do you think that makes me feel NOW when I’m 25 and have had this happy, sweet, smart, and sassy kid for 2 and a half years and some asshole finds me on facebook and tells me they are AMAZED that I settled down and found someone who fixed me and had a little girl to save me. You fucking patronizing asshole. You didn’t KNOW me then. No one did. You saw the cuts, you saw the drunk, you saw the shaved head and filthy clothes but you did not see the REASON for any of it. You didn’t know what was going on in my head, or what went through it when I fucking fixed myself and made choice after choice that led me HERE to where I am today and not into cirrhosis and destitute kitchen servitude. You don’t know dick shit and you have no fucking right to act like you do – you who came from stable family and money and self-worth. You think people can be fixed because you’ve never had to fix yourself and I’ll be fucked if I’m going to try to explain it to you.
I don’t worry about my kid being taken away from me anymore. I worry about cleaning my house before dinner guests come tomorrow, about how much tv my kid watches, about whether or not the meat will thaw for the lasagne I want to make. Coz I was a fucking kid when that shit was my life. And I’m not a kid anymore. If there are people who judge me based on what I was when I was 15, honestly I have no use for them. I can’t help you. And no. I’m not your friend.