My Story, Part 4

When I was 15 I had met this girl in Spanish class. There’s something about abused children – at least as far as I can tell, that you can just sort of see it on each other. I can’t articulate it, but you can identify each other quickly enough. I didn’t know what was going on at her house, but I had an idea that her stepfather was abusing her, I just didn’t know what kind of abuse. Given the world we live in, you can guess how, but I never asked. I’d learn about that only a couple of years ago in my life now when we reconnected. Anyway, I knew things were bad for her and things were bad for me. I was still dating the girl I had started dating at 12, but I fell for this girl. I split things off with my girlfriend which was devastating for her. I didn’t give her any reason other than I was bad for her. Only part of that was true – I was bringing some serious bad home life into her otherwise good life. I didn’t tell her about the other girl. I don’t know if it was cowardice, or not wanting to hurt her. Probably both. Anyway, the girl from Spanish class was in a bad enough situation from what I could tell that I got her to come home with me one day on the bus. The bus driver knew something was up, and it was breaking the rules for her to take someone that wasn’t part of her route or anything. I don’t know what I said to convince her to let the girl come with me, but she did. We got to my house – nobody would be home for an hour and a half. I grabbed some clothes, some quick and easy food to make on the go and we were heading for the door. I didn’t know where we were going to go – maybe one of my brothers places for a day or two while figuring something out, but one thing was certain – we were getting the hell out of there. My mother came home early. She called the police and they came and picked the girl up. She wasn’t in school for a couple of weeks after that, and upon her return, she wouldn’t speak to me. I’d eventually end up going back to my old girlfriend. Like I said, I’ll talk more about this girl in another post sometime.

I had two serious racing accidents, one when I was 15, then another on my 16th birthday. The first I took a fair amount of damage to my left hand and wrist (torn ligaments, ripped cartilage, twisted metal pretty deep into my wrist joint), and my right elbow – flesh ground off to the bone through the racing suit. The second accident the safety gear failed and I ended up ejected during a barrel-roll impact into a concrete barrier. The car rolled back down the barrier and across my back before coming to rest in the middle of the track. Luckily for me, everyone swerved and avoided me. I had two seriously injured areas of my spine and my neck took a hell of a beating in spite of the neck brace. The second accident would be the last – I quit after that. Life was miserable, but I certainly wasn’t going to go out of this world like that. Or worse, get so fucked up that I’d never walk again or something like that.

I’d spend a fair amount of time in physical therapy and such from 16 to 18, but being young, I seemed to heal rather quickly and bounce back. The disc damage to my back was moderate, no hairline fractures but I had a lot of muscle damage. When I was 17 I moved out and rented a room from a lady who was a divorcee trying to just keep her house. It was all shared space, aside from the room. There was an ex felon down the hall from me – scary dude. A rather large knife collection for someone who’d only been out for a couple of months. I didn’t know what he had done and we didn’t get to know each other, really. He wasn’t the talking type. When I was 18 I started working in an auto part manufacturing company. It was one of those shitty jobs that you get through a temp agency, then if they “like” you, they bring you on full time after 3 months. I worked nights and the foreman was this morbidly obese man that seems like a caricature of a cigar-smoking, never cleanly shaven angry man who barks orders at people. He was so obese in fact, that walking from one area to the next to berate people and tell them to work faster (great management style, by the way – it really wins the affection of your employees), that he’d ride around on a forklift and yell at people from there. I swear, there were nights I smelled alcohol on his breath.

After working at that place for 6 months, my back injuries were really starting to bother me. I had started college as an art major and psychology minor. I heard that there was a local book printing company hiring so I went there, applied and started there. Health benefits were decent, so I went to get actual medical care for my back. The pain was increasing and on some days, barely tolerable. This was the late 90’s and health insurance companies weren’t nearly as difficult to work with as they would be shortly after the turn of the millennium. I ended up on heavy opiate medications to deal with the pain. I had a few doctors, all prescribing different classes of medications so that insurance would pay. PPO’s were great for that. I spoke with several surgeons and they all basically said they could do the vertebral fusions for my lower and mid spine, but that technology and techniques were growing by leaps and bounds every year and that I should put it off as long as possible. With enough pain meds I could walk, so I’d press on like that for years to come.

At 19, I married the girl I had dated since I was 12. We moved in together and I started to have a serious mental breakdown. Funny thing about some trauma victims – when things are finally calm and safe, that’s when you start to deal with things. I couldn’t cope – the PTSD was so bad… The nightmares, the flashbacks, the self-hatred. all of it came crashing down at once. I needed help, and badly. We didn’t have much money, but we had enough that I could see a therapist once every two weeks. When I got home from the first visit with the therapist that I had found I was asked “So, how many visits before you’re ok?” She was serious – she wanted a specific timeline. I told her I’d ask during next session, which the answer was what anyone who’s been through therapy will be told – it takes time. Given what I was there for, probably a long time. That was apparently the wrong answer for my new wife. I needed support and I wasn’t getting it from her. So, online I went. IRC was where people could chat, and there were abuse survivor communities. I met whom would become my best friend there. This was also what started the rather rapid breakdown of communication and an ever-growing amount of distance between us.

That’s enough for tonight.. I’ll put the last 1-3 entries up likely later this week.

Oh, that prick of a foreman? He’d wait until people were done with the production needed for that night then fire them on the spot. He was ruthless. We all hated him. One day he comes in beaming – he bought himself a new Pontiac and was bragging and showing it off to everyone. He fired something like 10-15 people that night talking about budget cuts and such. When he left work a few of us were left finishing things up. We went to his office, called the police and reported the car stolen, giving his name as the owner and all, but describing the person that took off with the car as a large man with a blue work outfit on. He was ordered out of his car at gunpoint that morning. We heard about it that night – all sorts of threats made to whomever it was once he found out. We’d continue to mess with the car – an entire roll of heat-shrink wrapping around and over/under the car, then shrunk with a torch. Press grease under the door handles, pouring hot water down the door creases and the locks when it was well below freezing. Bologna stuck to the hood and windshield when it was below freezing. Fuck that guy – when I quit, about 10 other people quit the same night. Life is hard. It’s harder when you’re an asshole.

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