A letter I can ‘t send

*My father passed away on Oct 8th 2018, at the time of this writing it was nearly 3 weeks ago. I have been having some complications with grief because the relationship I had with him was complicated. This is a part of my grieving process, I am writing him a letter I can’t send, telling him things that I need to say.*

 

Dad,

So you left us almost 3 weeks ago. It’s been an interesting time to say the least. My emotions have been life a raft on an ocean in a storm. The rise and fall has nearly made me nauseous. I miss you and I love you but lets be honest, our relationship as father and son wasn’t always the most healthy.

 

There were times that you would get so angry at me that I swear to God you were going to kill me. You’d kick me, you hit my face so hard, you would take your belt off, strike my body, my arms…….

I still remember that night when I was 10 and you climbed on top of me pinning me to the best and beating me senseless. I remember Mark running down the hall telling mom that you were killing me. I thought you were going to. I don’t ever remember being so scared.,

SO dad I am going to confess a few things to you. Things I am not happy about but are true none the less. I never ever told you these things and well I can’t exactly tell you them now but I need to get them out. Send them out to the ether where they can go and be as dead as you are.

Please remember that I do love you. but as an adult I had dreams where I would almost kill you. It was always physical fights, never guns or weapons just beating you like you beat me. I’d watch you crumple, pull your hair, slam you against walls.  I had no control over any of this, these dreams just happened. I regret them, I regretted them back then and I regret them still. After having one of these dreams I’d be miserable for days afterward. I do not know what part of me wanted you dead but there must have been a part there.

I remember after Mark died and we hadf that fight in the car coming home from Grandma’s house where you told me that my grief didn’t matter, that yours was worse and more important I know I wanted you dead then. I know that I felt that the wrong family member died. My God why couldn’t I have had my brother and you be gone. Well I guess I got my wish because now you are gone and I am destroyed.

I sill remember a few years ago the last physical fight we had. I was so scared you were going to hurt me again when you got out of your chair and you came after me but then something crazy happened. I shoved you against the closet door and you stopped. I was stronger than you and if I had wanted to I could have done some damage to yu that night. As it was I know your shoulder hurt you for days afterward and I remember that I apologized many times to you about the whole thing. It was never in my nature to actually want to do harm. but you scared me so damn much, why am I still scared when I know exactly where you remains are? Isn’t that weird?

Our relationship was not perfect, we got on each others nerves. We both had our issues, some of which I think I actually inherited from you like anxiety and my temper, but I do know that we had love. I do understand that you were crazy proud of me and Corrie for doing the best we can all of the time. I will remember you fondly even though things were complicated. I don’t hold any regrets anymore and I know you did not have any either.

I have written this all down so I can put it to rest. so that if this comes up again that I can remind myself that I have dealt with this already, yes these things happened but no, these memories and reams do not have any power over me anymore. You and I were good when you left Dad. You were in a good place 20 min before you died suddenly, I know that because the last text you sent to anyone was sent to me.

I love you and miss you so much Dad. Please save me a place at the table when I get up there.

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Damaged Goods

I am just going to write this, I am not going to edit it. I am not writing this for any purpose other than to get it all out. I am going to talk about things that have happened and confess some thing and I am not going to mention names. I’m just going to write

 

I don’t like myself very much. I don’t think I ever really have, perhaps when I was really young like four or five before I learned what the word retarded meant. After I learned what that word meant and that people believed that is what I was I don’t think I ever really liked myself again.

I first heard someone call me retarded when I was in the first grade. I remember a trio of 3 kids who saw me on the playground talking to myself and walking around in circles rubbing my hands together, they were the first people who called me that. The told me I was retarded and I didn’t know what they meant. They kept doing it everyday then they would chase me slowly on the playground and no one protected me. They would chase me till I fell and sometimes they would trip me. I remember telling my first grade teacher about it but she was mad at me for not ever finishing my homework so she was too busy starving me and not letting me eat lunch to really care. THere was no special ed program at this school but even if there was, the only purpose of special education is to isolate kids like me from normal kids so hopefully we were less of a distraction and we didn’t get picked on and beat up as much.

 

I remember the first time I was aware of the size of my own penis, it was not really anything I ever thought of until my cousin saw it when we were getting changed in our bathroom to go swimming. He kept pointing at it and yelling “your’s is small, why is it so small?” I was 8….. he was younger than me and it was clear that he had a larger penis than I did. I never really forgot about that, it made me aware that I was different, damaged, broken.

I remember being locked in time out rooms and coat closests wit the lights turned out. It was scary I remember crying once and the teacher had the entire class mock cry at me.

I remember being in 7th grade and having a sleepover at my friends house and he had his girlfriend living with him. She was always so horny that she actually got into bed with him, I was right there as well and they started having sex. I laid there listening to them and smelling them and pretending to be asleep but I wasn’t asleep.

 

I remember the time the girl asking me if I wanted to be her girlfriend and then when my 10 year old self started declaring happily that I had my first ever girlfriend the entire class laughed at me because it was all a big joke. A joke that I still don’t understand. Why is it so funny?

 

I remember working up the courage to ask a girl for my first slow dance. To my surprise she actually said yes. We danced awkwardly for a few minutes, kind of a old fashioned dance with our arms sticking out and my other arm wrapped behind her back. I had no idea what I was doing but I know I liked it. The next day one of her friends told me she only did it because a teacher told her to be nice to me. She is one of my facebook friends.

I never ever tried to kiss a girl but once I did make the mistake of putting my arm around one. She screamed and made me feel totally embarrassed. She is also one of my facebook friends. She probably doesn’t remember this.

I remember the girl who lived with us for awhile because she didn’t get along wit her parents, I had a crush on her but it was never going to ever be. She knew I liked her though and she ended up picking on me in cruel ways because of it. She would have me drive her to her various boyfriends houses and have sex with them while I was there. Once I was left in the living room with her boyfriends alcoholic father. I was absolutely terrified by the things this guy was saying and I could hear this girls moaning in  their bedroom. Once she had me drive over to another boyfriends house and they made out on the back of my car with me sitting there looking forward in the drivers seat. I could feel the car moving.

She’s a Facebook friend

I remember the 2nd girlfriend I ever had decided to cheat on me after 2 weeks of dating. Once I drove 30 min to her house and 30 min back to drop flowers off at her porch. I knew she wasn’t at home, she was with a guy who she told me was just a friend. She was fucking him.

Then she broke up with me and said I did things wrong, I didn’t trust her enough.

I didn’t find out about the cheating until after she had broken up with me.

The first girl I ever had sex with told everyone that my dick was small and Icouldn’t climax. Both of these things were true but never expected the night of me losing my virginity to turn into this. I lost friends because of this. Somehow my being hurt by this and defending myself was still wrong.

She was also having cybersex behind my back during the entire few months of our relationship. I am not making this up she told me.

 

Somewhere along the way I created a fetish in my mind. A benign fetish in which I enjoy the sight of pretty girls in the act of struggle. I have enjoyed this fetish only through consensual roleplays, videos that I have commissioned and stories. THere are many times though that I have tried to get women to play along with this fetish online without actually disclosing that this was a fetish. I’ve lost friends because of this and though I have never really considered this to be cheating (see above) I know I have hurt people by engaging in it.

My first wife had a guy friend move in with us and slept with him when I asn’t around I enjoyed my fetish with various girls online. We ended the marriage amicably.

My wife and I very rarely have actual sex and when we do I rarely climax. I don’t understand sex, I am confused and vexed by it. I don’t know how to please her, I don’t know how to tell her to please me other than performing role plays in the vein of my fetish. The entire reasons she is not a mom is because I cannot  ejaculate inside of her. I do not know why this is. I have only finished inside of a girl one single time. I cannot believe that I just admitted to that.

I live a weird dichotomy, I want for women to be kind to me, to find me pleasing and sexy and to take care of me. I want them to save me but I also do not trust them. I have been a victim to how women can be cruel and instead of seeing me as a possibly ally I am made to feel like I am a part of the problem. Guys who look like me, guys with neck beards and who are fat and who have microdicks are being told they are making women feel unsafe and not once did anyone give a God damn about how safe I felt

I don’t feel safe

I don’t feel loved

I do not feel cared for and looked after

I have made some horrible horrible mistakes but never once did I do anything ever intentionally hurt anyone. I have been hurt by people who did intentionally try to hurt me.

I have suffered trauma and I do not know how to fix it.

I have suffered a form of sexual trauna to the point that I cannot even make proper love to my wife and give her children and I do not know how to fucking fix it!!!!!!!

 

I keep screaming to the sky Me TOO ME TOO #METOO

and nobody hears

nobody cares

No one sees me or understands how much pain I am in.

I am invisible and I do not know how to fix it.

I do not know how to feel safe

I do not know how to make you see that I am not the problem that I suffer too

 

 

 

Meltdown

It happens more times than I care to admit. First the intrusive thoughts that bombard my resolve. The voices of the kids on the playground that reverberate in my ears, send signals down into my bones. They call me a loser, a retard, they call me fat and make comments about my failures and inabilities. It doesn’t matter where I am when this happens, it doesn’t matter the circumstances, when I get overwhelmed and I melt down into a series of profanities and verbal or written attacks it is always the same memories, the same voices, the same false identity statements that I hear. It doesn’t matter what I’ve accomplished or how far I’ve come from where I have been, the same old lies ring so true in my heart sometimes. It’s as if I haven’t aged past the scared kid in school who just wanted to be liked.

The other day, after a good day full of bike riding and friends and family and movies, discovering that our bank account was depleted again I began to hear those attacks again. At once, before I could even think about it, it wasn’t about money anymore it was about failure. All of a sudden it wasn’t just that I had no money, it was that I wasn’t working hard enough, not making enough money to take care of life. It was tat I wasn’t strong enough to be as healthy as I should be. I was a fat lazy idiot. I wasn’t a good husband to Corrie, she needed and deserved better than what I had to offer. The voice inside my head, the internal monologue which I have heard since I was very young, the static and noise that I live with on a daily basis became deafening.  Every sin was counted, every failure. The ‘meltdown’ or ‘crash’ is always similar. Screaming, cursing, sometimes I’ll throw something. This isn’t about rage or anger as much as it is about fear, defensiveness. I feel backed into a corner like an old dog that has been beat too many times. I lash out at the perceived threat. The thing I hate the most? Is the people I love dearest get the brunt of it. My wife, my pastors, my close friends my parents. F this and F that, the words just stream out of me like a raging river. I get lost in the storm.

Then the arsenal turns inward. I begin to attack myself. I feel worthless, insignificant, evil, ugly. Every time after lashing out I turn inward and face what I perceive to be the real enemy, which is me.

After that I am drained. I cry, I feel dazed and numb. On Sunday I slept longer than I probably should have. It takes time to recover from this, recovery happens but the cycle always seems to begin again and again. I’ve dealt with this for years. It is hard to know where the autism begins and where my conscious choices end in this, but I am aware that I am making some. It’s also hard to know what I am gaining from allowing these meltdowns to happen. What I long for is to be free, is to be Mike. Most of my anxiety is controlled but this tape loop remains and man is it destructive.

I have a longing to be heard, I also have longings to be respected and loved. I don’t like the idea of me being soft I’d rather be seen as hard, as capable THere is a picture I took of myself a few years ago and without meaning to it represented how I want to be seen by the world.

 

mikeface

It’s the same pic on the front page of the blog. I look like a bad ass in this, I look capable, I look like someone who can handle anything that is thrown at him. God how I wish I was this person, I’ve always wanted to be him, he doesn’t have meltdowns. He doesn’t care. He is disaffected. But that’s not me at all. I think some of my rage is realizing that I am not him, I also think some of it is not being willing to accept the fact that this isn’t who people I care about in my life need. That’s not who my wife Corrie needs, it’s not who my parents need. It’s not who my church wants or needs me to be nor the customer at my job. They need me to care, to engage, to be vulnerable . Empathy isn’t easy for me but the people who matter to me in my life need me to sift through all of the static and noise so that I can at least try to empathize with them. I don’t know what the way forward is, at least not totally, but I at least know what some of the things are that I need to get rid of. It should help at least with the rage if I can make a habit of not going on defense whenever I get overwhelmed. How do I stop from getting overwhelmed though? How do I construct a filter? Even without rage there will be huge emotional rapids and currents that I’ll need to navigate through. Will I need more medication? Talk therapy? Is there a way to rewire my brain?

However the way forward I do want to say this, if you have ever been at the receiving end of one of my melt downs I am sorry. They aren’t healthy, they’re not a good way to deal with my emotions and I am sorry for any and all harm that I have caused because of them. I am trying to be a better person, the child of God that everyone else seems to know I am, and I will work diligently not to allow these demons to win anymore. It has gone on far too long and it is time for major changes in my emotional life. I’ll only get where I am going with God’s help but he has proven to be dependable time and time again.

 

The SSRI slow dance

I have a debilitating mental illness that is called Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This is fairly typical for someone who has Aspergers and also fairly typical for someone who has experienced trauma. While I would not claim that my life has been more traumatic than other peoples our trauma is an experience that comes in many colors. Being bullied in school, losing my brother as a young adult and a failed marriage all contributed to the anxiety condition that was probably laying dormant ever since I was born because of the way my brain is hardwired for anxiety as someone with autism. I lived unmedicated for way too long and because of that my anxiety got worse and worse. I believe my vertigo spells are a direct result of my anxiety, last January I started to take a drug for my issues and the results are night and day.

I consider myself neither an optimist nor a pessimist but a realist. I am more interested in how things are rather than how they might be or how I hope the can be. With that in mind the drug I take is not a cure. If I stopped taking it tomorrow first I would have to deal with withdrawal effects as the amount of serotonin my brain is used to changed. Once those passed my anxiety levels would most likely return to the levels they were at before I began medication. Drugs are not a cure they are a mask, a band-aid, they are meant to cover symptoms while you heal, physically mentally and psychologically.  This is neither good or bad it’s just how it is. But it’s also where I need to be

Everyday when I wake up I am tired, too tired, this is a direct effect of the Lexapro in my system. increased serotonin can make you feel lethargic so getting up is a chore. To offset this I make sure that I have plenty of time to wake in the morning, get my breakfast ate  and head off to work. Some days are harder than others because sometimes getting to sleep is tough, this is also do to the serotonin in my system. At night the chemicals in my head and the chemicals in the medicine do a little dance and that can make things a little strange. I’ll have slight eye image issues, weirdness that is hard to describe but it’s almost like slight hallucinations. My body temperature will also be a bit funky but it all regulates after awhile. This doesn’t happen every night or every week but every now and then I’ll have this happen. Once it passes I am able to go back to sleep.

Having said all of that, with all of it’s small quirks and such being on an SSRI is totally worth it. I don’t have panic attacks anymore, I will occasionally get small bouts of dizziness but no longer so bad that I think I am going to pass out. My temper is better, not perfect but better. I am more present in life, more in tune with what is going on around me and not stuck in my own cycle of thoughts all of the time. I’ve been more emotionally available to Corrie, more willing to take risks, good risks. I can get through an entire day without thinking the whole world is going to fall apart at the seams. Sure I have a few annoying side effects but compared to the living hell I was going through with GAD with OCD.

Next week I’ll continue on this thread, from my unique Christian Misfit perspective, If Jesus is enough, and he has healed me why do I need to take medicine to combat anxiety. I am looking forward to it.

Undercover Angels

My wife and I just experienced true kindness yesterday, the kind of kindness that we all hope still exists in a world that is becoming more riddled with apathy and cynicism but you aren’t quite sure it’s still out there until you are presented with it. I usually tell people that I don’t believe in God because I’ve seen him, but I do believe because I see his fingerprints, this is a story about fingerprints.

SO some context is needed, I had a horrible week. Last Thursday I was involved in a minor fender bender, I was rear ended when waiting to be able to turn right. My truck took some damage, and I took some damage too albeit minor. Needless to say by Saturday I wasn’t in the best of moods. I was heading outside to take a rode on my new trike which my family and friends had just helped me purchase when I noticed my wife’s bike was missing.

She had her bike locked to the fence pole, it had a combination lock on it so someone had to cut the chain and then exit our property to have stolen it. It must have happened in the middle of the night. This was the 3rd bike stolen off of our property in 2 and a half years of living there. Needless to say Saturday morning, when my neck stiffness from an accident 2 days ago was setting in and I had a headache that I could not shake I was in no mood to have pity on some entitled jerk who stole our property. I was ready to purchase a gun and learn how to shoot. I’ve never wanted to own a gun in my entire life but I have had enough of crooks sneaking on my property. I was ready to do something about it.

Corrie posted an ad on Craigslist in the lost and found. She wasn’t feeling any better about this than I did, and her ad reflected that. She isn’t quite as colorful as I am with her language, but she did tell whoever stole her bike that they could sit on a cactus. The first response she got was almost so predicable it was sad. Some no name telling her ‘ with all of the things happening in the world right now you shouldn’t care so much about your own life”. These types of responses are usually written by people with enough money that if something gets stolen they can just go and replace it. God knows life would be so much better if we were all that rich. We ignored the troll who responded like that and tried to put the bike in the back of our mind. That’s when my wife heard from a lady named Evelyn

Evelyn said she had seen a similar bike to my wife’s, a bit older but the same style, and she wanted to buy it for us. Neither of us could believe it and I confess at first I thought it was just a cruel hoax of some kind. I honestly didn’t pay the offer any mind until she showed up last night at our door with the bike in tow.

She had purchased this bike for us which the guy was selling for $100, she doesn’t know us from Adam but she said she could hear the anger and despair in my wife’s words on the craigslist ad and she felt like she needed to do something. Her and her daughter came over, they were both the nicest folks. I still cannot believe that someone would do something like this for us. Not only did they give us the bike but they also left us a gift card which I believe we will be using to get the kid we mentor a Christmas present.

Part of the autistic experience, at least for me is a challenged ability to see anything beyond what is happening to me in the present moment. If I am being harmed or wronged in some way it is hard to see what underlying good could be happening. This isn’t always true, there are days when I am more in touch with the Holy Spirit that I can literally feel his presence even when I am in the midst of a trial but the events of the week had left me gun shy and unable to discern  where God was. Well he showed up big time in the kind act of a stranger. I felt cared for of course but it also reminded me of my sin, of my failure to see that God was taking care of us. I let the anger inside take over and I was ready to watch the world burn. Hopefully next time I will remember that God has a handle on all things, no matter how badly the boat rocks in the storm.

 

I’ve got a list of demands (Why I’m quitting Facebook)

Back around 2009 I discovered Facebook. I had been a loyal MySpace and Livejournal user before than but I liked Facebook because it seemed to be more about really connecting with people. The whole purpose was to connect with people that you knew, I was able to get back in touch with folks I hadn’t heard from in years. As the Facebook mania grew I began to see how it could be used in other ways. I bolstered support for my music endeavors, I helped a family at my church raise serious money with their husband and father passed away. I even got support from family and friends when I began a long journey into weight loss which I am still on today. Facebook was the greatest in my opinion. I loved keeping up with everything that people were doing. But soon, as it does with so many things, Facebook began to lose it’s luster.

I think I noticed it first when people would respond to some things I’d post and not others. If I posted a news story that I read and share what I thought was a well thought out and fair opinion on the piece, and people would come out of the woodwork and fight with me about it. Then they would fight with each other about it. I could leave Facebook for an hour and come back and people would still be flaming each other, like if someone held a differing opinion than you it would be the end of the world. The next day I could post a bit of humor, or a piece of music that I’ve written and nothing. No one would respond, no ‘likes’ not a peep. Go away for an hour, still nothing.

I don’t know if Facebook’s algorithm is to blame or if social media has just conditioned us to be a more combative people but I began to fall victim to a mentality that demanded respect. I had a long list of demands and theyt were not being met. I also have a strong reaction against bullying and the more people would fight with me the more I felt like I was being attacked, bullied, my comments would reflect that.

This is why I’ve decided that the problem isn’t necessarily with Facebook or the people that use Facebook but with me. I use Facebook in unhealthy ways and because I take everything so personally it’s not a good place for me to hang out, at least not for now. So I am stepping away. I am going to deactivate my Facebook for an undetermined amount of time, it could be 6 months, it could be longer, it’s not going to be easy but I think it’s important. While I am away from there I will focus on what’s going on in front of me, be fully present in life as it happens instead of checking in an out just to see what people are doing online. I am also planning on using this blog a couple times a week to begin telling a story. A story about how I live life and also the story about how I’ve gotten here from where I’ve come from. Eventually I may turn it into a book but either way there is a story to share, one I’ve been wanting to write for some time now. I hope you’ll come along.

I could have been Kennedy.

Yesterday, while the entire nation was mourning the loss of 9 people who were senselessly killed in a church in Charleston, there was another tragedy that flew under the radar. A smaller story about a young 16 year old kid named Kennedy LeRoy who was bullied at his high school because he was different, because he had Aspergers Syndrome. He killed himself while he was alone in his room a week ago today because of depression and because of the torment that he experienced at his school. I don’t blame you if you didn’t hear about this story, I wouldn’t have heard about it myself except I saw a blurb on my Facebook feed about it from Autism Speaks. It immediately hit me right in the gut because, that very well could have been me in that story. I could have been Kennedy.

I didn’t get bullied until I entered 1st grade, but after that bullying was a pretty regular occurrence in my life. I can remember being followed by groups of kids and laughed at, they would chase me on the playground, trip me up, surround me.

I remember being in second grade and using the restroom in my school, I would go into a stall to urinate as I didn’t like being crowded and some kids were trying to get into the stall to make fun at me. While trying to keep them out the stall ended up being rammed right into my forehead using a huge bruise which I can still vividly remember seeing. I wouldn’t use public restrooms for a long time after that, holding in my need to go until the point of pain so that I would not be abused.

I remember a girl publicly asking me out one day just so that she could publicly dump me several hours later, all of the girls would laugh and snicker at me for the rest of the day making sure I knew that she wasn’t ever really my girlfriend, I was 10.

There was a school dance and 2 of the ‘cool’ kids told me to come behind the bleachers because they had a secret to tell me. I willingly went, happy to be accepted by kids that were obviously cooler than me. While the first kid leaned in to tell me the ‘secret’ the other kid snuck behind me and put me in a choke hold. I couldn’t breathe and struggle to fight him off but they ran off before I could really do anything.

I accidentally backed my chain into a kid once who proceeded to push me around violently. I remember being scared to even tell the principal about this for fear that I would get suspended for fighting even though I didn’t fight back.

Kids would hide behind doors waiting for me to walk pass, they would call me names. Once in six grade several kids signed my yearbook with sexually explicit messages, asking if I ever had wet dreams, wondering when I would have sex, someone even told me ton get a sex change. My mom went through the year book with white out erasing those messages from the book but not from my mind.

In high school I had kids who were supposedly my ‘friends’ who would prank call my home all hours of the night. I would get teased for not showering, I would get teased for being fat, it finally got to the point that, just like Kennedy I would sit alone in my room for hours on end just listening to music, wondering why it was so hard for me to make friends. Wanting nothing more than to be accepted for who I was.

I barely survived High School, I don’t know how I did, I am surprised that I didn’t end up like Kennedy and others that I have heard of. I guess having the few friends that I did was enough to get me by but school was hell and I am glad I never have to relive those days. Being an adult is easy compared to the nightmare I went through.

I do not share all of this, many of which I’ve never publicly given details about, to make you feel sorry for me. I share it so that maybe after reading this you’ll want to become more involved with what is going on at your children’s school, does your kid know who the bully’s are? Are you kids being bullied by them? Are your kids the bullies? The more we know, the more information that comes to light, the safer are schools are going to be. Most bullies have issues of their own, I’ve learned this by talking to some of my own bullies as we’ve gotten older, I’ve learned a lot, many of my bullies were suffering some form of abuse at home, being aggressive at school was how the handled it. Is that an excuse for their behavior? No but it does explain a lot, the problem goes even deeper than we think, if we as a community can help get kids safe maybe, just maybe, there will be less bullying at school. Maybe someday we will not have to read about kids like Kennedy LeRoy in the past tense, we can read about the amazing things they are doing in their lives. One more suicide because of bullying is one too many. What are you going to do to help stop it?