July 10 (Mon)…I took Jenni to the doctor—she was running a fever—she probably has a sinus infection. She also feels dizzy and nauseated. Thank goodness for insurance. Her bill including meds was just 17.00.
The moss roses (in the 90+ heat) are gorgeous!!!
Sat July 15
I called the hotline at Biodyne on Wed. because I saw I was doing 3 things on my “smoke signals” list. It was hard to reach out and I cried while on the phone but it was a great feeling to do something self-respecting for me—self-loving—I was nurturing myself. *I* was taking care of me.
___Come back to this part later: I’m reading a book about how to get yourself from where you are to where you want to be.
What I’d like to be:
A creative person who uses her creativity and life experiences to create a safe, fun place for people to learn—to empower people to transform their lives.________
(Moving ahead about a month, will go back in time again on the next post):
Wed. Aug. 23rd.
I have been avoiding writing in the journal because I didn’t want to face my feelings. I have been down and getting angry. I don’t know how to deal with anger. I’m angry at Ron—angry at what he did to me and angry that he doesn’t want to win me back. I’m angry at Jenni for running away on Fri. and causing me to worry for so long on Sat.
. . .Jenni is letting the dog use her bedroom for a litter box—last night she bled all over the couch and rug up here. I slept 10 ½ hours last night and I’m still tired. I’m just tired of this life. I’m tired of all this responsibility. I want to go to the library and read—escape into books.
I read ahead this weekend, because I knew some of these entries were likely to come up. When I saw the first, I had to keep reading until I read Aug. 23rd.
At least now I know the day I lost my first baby.
My mom actually asked me that night, “Jen, is there any chance you could be pregnant?” and what I thought to myself was, “not anymore,” but what I said was, “No.”
Dear Mother, what’s coming next is not something you ever, ever wanted to hear. It’s not anything I wanted to live through, either, but it happened.
During this summer of 1995 (and I didn’t remember it as the summer right after you tried to kill yourself) I snuck out of the house a lot.
I just wanted to get away. It started when Dad still lived there with us, so that might have been the previous summer, and, in fact, probably was. I had recently met Andy, recently begun seeing him as more than a friend, but we weren’t exclusive, or even sleeping together.
Mom, the Friday night you think I ran away, I suppose I did run away. I went to a party.
I don’t even know if I can write this.
I had a friend, who, looking back, is better classified as a pimp. I had a pimp who curried favor with people by loaning me out. I wanted him. I wanted him so much. I was drunk on a deep voice and the greenest eyes I had ever seen. We talked all night long, sometimes falling asleep on the phone. He was the only one who knew how much I hated my father. He was the only one who knew that I wanted to die, but he never gave me permission to end it. He wasn’t even attractive. But I wanted him and he nearly always said “no.” I used to skip school in the mornings and walk to his house to curl up in bed with him, even though he would barely let me do anything. I wanted him to love me and take care of me. I wanted him to protect me. Instead, he whored me out, put me in positions where I was surrounded and woefully outnumbered, where to get out of the situation, I’d have to play the role they wanted me to play, because they were going to take what they wanted whether I cooperated or not. Over and over he did this, always as if he were doing me some kind of favor by “inviting” me out to go under the bridge (and I mean under, as in under the concrete “floor” of the bridge that the creek ran over) where the cave was on Union, when really I had no choice. If I wanted his attention, I had to go. I had to do what was asked, or I would suffer it being done anyway and losing a man who (I thought) cared about me in the process.
You have to understand, too, the psychology of someone molested and then given an abusive father. I was DYING for male attention and approval. I literally would have killed myself for it.
Anyway, Mark had a new friend, Derek. It was probably the first time Mark had ever been invited to a party at Derek’s house. The whole gang, who had been doing me all summer long, and one of whom was probably responsible for the dizziness and nausea of July 10, was going to be there. And so were several of Derek’s friends.
It took about 10 minutes into the movie E.T. for the first of Derek’s friends to realize why I was there. In fact, I think it was Derek’s little brother. I was led to a room. I swear there were two beds in the room, but it could have been two separate rooms I was in that night. I spent a lot of time “away.”
Derek’s brother turned on his CD player. Apparently he was fond of the song “Gangsta’s Paradise,” this little wigger who would have pissed himself if he ever saw anyone darker than a Mexican. He put the song on repeat.
I put myself on repeat.
As guy after guy came through the room, parts of the song would break their way through the haze:
“Why are we so blind to see /
that the ones we hurt are you and me?”
“I’m 23 now will I live to see 24? The way things are going, I don’t know.”
I was 15 years, 40 days old. I didn’t know, at times during that night, if I would live to 15 years and 42 days.
Friday turned into Saturday. At one point, two guys who had already had me once wanted to do me again, but tag-team, this time. The terms had to be negotiated. Mark negotiated them down to separate visits.
I actually sat at Mark's foot during this, and he petted my head like a dog.
Eventually, we all slept. I was supposed to catch a ride home via Mark before the sun rose. This was important, because although I had left a note on my pillow (I always did) saying that I was out, it did say I would be back on Saturday.
When Mark and I woke up Saturday, most of the people were gone. At one point, Mark and Derek got into a fight, and Mark ran out of Derek’s house.
And now, I was stuck at Derek’s house, with only the two guys who had wanted to tag-team me and Derek, who was a big scary guy who had given me rugburn on both of my shoulder blades and my ass.
I had had nothing to drink but one beer the night before, and bodily fluids.
“What am I supposed to do?” I asked him.
“I don’t know. Jay can take you home.”
I looked at Jay and knew I’d never make it home alive. “I’ll fucking walk,” I said.
And I did. And it took 6 ½ hours. I got so thirsty in the dry Colorado heat that, when I finally made it into Black Forest and chanced upon puddles by the road in the shade, I drank straight from them. Two of them. Drank them down to the mud.
And still I had to keep walking.
It was almost 7pm by the time I made it home. I remember my mother telling me something, but I needed a drink and to go to bed.
I knew something was terribly wrong.
And something continued to be terribly wrong until the 22nd, when I was having terrible menstrual cramps. Andy was concerned; he’d never seen me in such pain. A few times in the hallway, I dropped down to my knees from the pain of the cramps. But I always had terrible cramps. Usually not drop-on-the-floor bad, but not-able-to-speak-bad.
And then I felt a chunk of something fall out of my body.
By the time I got to the girl’s room, with Andy hot on my heels, I was covered in blood. Pieces, giant clots, kept falling out of me. I begged him to drive me home, which he did.
He put me on the couch, and I laid there all night.
At one point, I took a bath, more for the heat than for the water. For those of you who are familiar with menstrual cycles, you’ll notice that the cervix usually closes up in the bathtub. You might get one or two nasty surprises, but that’s it.
Not so for miscarriages.
Piece after piece flowed out of me. Every time I pushed, a red cloud erupted. Chunks of clot expelled into the tub. By the time the cramps eased at all, The water was so full of blood that I could not see my hand even ½ inch below the surface of the water.
I was in agony. I had taken at least 8 ibuprofen in a shot to dull the pain. I couldn’t do anything. Couldn’t go to bed, couldn’t do anything.
Whenever we were sick, we slept upstairs on the couch. It’s just what we did. Mom’s bedroom was upstairs, mine was downstairs.
I had never been sicker in my life.
I realized before too long that I was miscarrying, that I had been pregnant, which I had guessed at before, but I knew for sure now. The next day, in a fit of grief, I gathered the towels and the dirty pants and washed them, then searched through what was left in the washing machine to find my baby.
I never did find my baby. I didn’t even know how far along I had been.
My mother confronted me about the blood on the couch and floor. “Jen, is there any chance you could be pregnant?”
Mom, why did you ask such a ridiculously easy question to duck? Why did you use that tense? You knew better. You just didn’t want to know.
“I’m just tired of this life. I’m tired of all this responsibility.” But what responsibility, mother? You ducked the responsibility of taking me to the doctor, of knowing the truth of the blood. You ducked the responsibility of actually seeing and dealing with how Dad treated us. You caught Grandpa molesting me and yet still allowed us to be alone with him afterward.
What responsibility, mother? You sit here, in your journal, blaming me as if I had willfully bled upon your couch.
You’re tired of this life? Really? Because your husband left you? I’ve been gang raped all summer long, not knowing any better and with no one to protect me or to help me or even to tell me that it was wrong, or that I had a choice about anything. That I could survive being without a protector? Don’t you think I was tired, too? I was killing myself, mother. Don’t think I wasn’t.
You know that PSA announcement from the 80’s where the father goes into the boy’s room and finds the cocaine, and he yells at the kid saying, “Where did you get this? Who taught you how to use this?”
And the kid finally shouts out, “You, alright? I learned it by watching you.”
Mother, I am so angry with you right now. I am so angry with Mark. I am so angry with me, with my grandfather, with my father.
But I didn’t bleed on your couch or your rug to add burdens into your life. I hope you know that. I wasn’t trying to be a bad daughter. I didn’t mean to run away. I was trying to go somewhere I was wanted, because God knows I wasn’t wanted at home.