13% [chapter 1]


Depression's been a constant dull ache since you were in 4th grade, so you always welcomed the presence of rage. It supplied you with the energy required to destroy whatever was in front of you in an effort to create positive change. Rage was such a regularly occuring emotion, you consistently recognized it's face. But it was so prevalent that by the age of 14, drugs began to build for you a buffer zone so as not to see this face so fucking often. An additional coping mechanism was also instated at this time called vigorous physical exercise.

Anyone born into a kid that receives ample abuse and neglect from those who are unable or unwilling to nurture and protect, intimately knows this horrifying red rage-filled face. They also know a child's instinctive longing for calm kneejerks them to grab the nearest broom and clean up the huge mess that the red face inevitably makes, regardless of whether it stems from elsewhere or is a self-made mess.

Who could blame you for being confused? The need to bond with others opens the oxytocin floodgates in our brains and sends warm fuzzy hormones careening around all over the place. However, in your case, twisted mental pathways interpret this hormonal release as a signal that someone is going to hurt you, so you turn away. To survive and protect yourself, you learned to turn away. For 40 odd years, you kept turning away. Yet at the same time, you so deeply yearned for that feeling of connection that continually eluded you. Seeing successful connections being made everywhere around you produced even more confusion. So you'd hide from the face of rage under your buffer zone drug blanket and bury yourself under quilted cries from wanting to be held but knowing that you cannot be held. There's a fabulous joke in there somewhere that you might one day find.

Whenever someone was engaged in the act of beating the shit out of you, they were also screaming bloody murder and visibly in pain. For this reason, you preferred violent physical abuse to the sexual kind -- preferring also to be the target of the attack rather than to watch someone else getting beaten. It felt far worse to witness your brother being hurt than to psychologically dissociate while going through it yourself. Also, your brother never discovered this secret weapon which proved to be your most powerful deterrent: urine. A few punches in, you'd let loose the bladderful you'd been saving up for this special occassion. And, like magic, yelps of disgust would replace the torrent of scorn. Instantly, the hitting would quit. You found pearls of joy in those tiny triumphant moments sitting on the kitchen floor in a peaceful puddle of tears spit piss and glory.

But the scars of sexual abuse were far more insidious. The sights, the sounds, the opaque presence of a person's intense feelings of pleasure while causing someone else terrible pain displaced that pain into a realm much colder. A hurt that hides deeper, in a distorted trench just below, but too close to, your own pleasure zones. Violence might find that cold hurt's hiding place but cannot hold a candle to it, nor can it ever cure it. Bruises, broken bones and burns prove violence occurs, but hidden are the scars of sexual abuse beneath the molten words, "I will kill you if you tell."

Enter the deathwish; swimming down there like an invisible shark, constantly stalking a freedom that is absolute -- a freedom that can only come to you from somewhere outside yourself. Deliverance via suicide, they say, only traps your soul in that state of wretchedness, confining it to that time and place instead of bringing you any of the desired relief you so desperately crave. And maybe that's all bullshit, but the benefit of the doubt must be given to all the ghosts of people who successfully committed suicide and later crowded around you asking for help. Clearly, they were not resting in peace.

Being a woman with a quick temper, an iron poker opinion and not much respect for authority, your chances seemed pretty damn good that you might one day receive this gift of deliverance from some angry asshole's bitch-killing hands since America is #1 in the world for acts of violence against women. So hooray for that.

But shit happens.

When long slow periods of cowering in fear suddenly transform into an overwhelming shockwave of action, critical mass occurs. Well directed, that shockwave of shit is capable of altering and healing lives. It can flip the switch for the victim -- to give up the ghost of victimization, to shift the mind out of that passive frozen in time emotional vortex it is stuck repeating, to actively crack open the present moment and lean you into the inertia of growth that naturally throws you toward letting go.

Unforgettable was your moment of cracking open at critical mass on June 10th, 1988. Squarely, you thrust your steel toed boot into the charging crotch of your dad who had for so long, shoved that thing in your face and at your punk ass.

At the age of 6, you already had enough defiance in mind to not let his dick penetrate you, though all kinds of other things did. How you had gained this early knowledge of carnal invasion was, as of yet, unknown. But now that you were bigger, you could better defend yourself from the unpredictable hair trigger walking on eggshell eruptions of animosity that bombarded you. At last, you could fight back.

Watching your father collapse so quickly, writhing there on the floor, scrunching his nuts in hand -- you stood so solid and strong, like some kind of engorged proud prisoner of nuclear war! Perhaps this shit happened because it was during your very first very short very scary experiment being a straight edge skin head of the anti-racist sort. A blinding glimpse through a clean drugless window with no buffer zone between you and a world where your rage was a wholly warhorse of consumption that you had none of the skills to rein in.

And when your father angrily jumped up from the floor with his balls still sore, he hurled himself back at you, screaming, "I HATE YOU!" His fists wheeled against your teenage frame. So you kicked him again. In the same place. Harder this time. Your mother cried from the sidelines, then ran to his aid during his second tour of the writhing floor.

Marching off toward the front door, you swung it open. While still in the eye of this purging hurricane, you let loose a stream of FUCK YOUs, puking out all those long rooted petrified agonies at your parents who had for so long sewn them into you. Quaking inside, you felt a subtle shift, the loosening of a crystallized stillborn cacoon. It's newly wet wings just beginning to protrude. Slowly unveiling over several seasons, they would emotionally inchworm you away from that tendency to dwell in your own personal hell and go for that oh so stereotypical due-to-the-aftereffects-of-child-abuse noose.

God forbid, you had never returned that wrath back to the source from whence it came, it would have been 87% more likely that this constant unexpressed chasm of avarice would have mutated into that common concave outlook of My Childhood Was Shit So Now The World Owes Me. This would only have produced relentless passive aggressive manipulations, surreptitious self-interest disguising itself as sympathy and other malignant misanthropic deeds. Undoubtedly, these traits would then cause harm to countless innocents surrounding you for the rest of your suppressed aDult days.

Those innocents include the children you never gave birth to. Abortion was your only inroad to harm reduction. Often, tears of gratitude were produced when thinking back on all the possible atrocities that were avoided; all the scars your younger tempermental fucked up self would have inflicted onto those poor kids because it's not as if you didn't show these malevolent signs during your earlier period of hope's decline.

But that initial critical mass, that shockwave of shit, ultimately saved you from your statistical self. It gave you a 13% chance of having a less than bleak outcome in life. Not being a mother was the sacrifice you were willing to make. Take that to mean whatever you like.

And as long as you resisted the urge to do one or more of these 4 things: prostitute yourself,
commit suicide, get incarcerated for assault,
or overdose on drugs, then you would remain in that 13 percentile. Seems simple enough. But you'd be surprised at self-destruction's tireless jags of acrimony, it's imperious drive to which the only defense is a softening into the impermanence of time and some resolute vigilance, always mindful and kind. No matter how hateful and angry that drive is to end your pathetic wasted life.

Up until this attack, self-defense was characteristically pacifistic, a psychological impasse. Kicking your dad in the nut sack was a heroic act in a heroless tract. By now, you knew no one else was ever gonna come save you but you -- a person that you did not trust even existed. Someone who'd one day emotionally understand how to take full responsibility for their own happiness.

A future you that would splatter and stain walls, vent onto paper instead of people, grow a pair for fuckssake, what's the magic word, be nice, say thank you, stand clear, speak up, have the courage of your own convictions, understand mutual aid, practice, lose yourself, it's ok. Find the frame of mind that differentiates self-pity from self-compassion. Be willing to walk the valley alone between self-deception and self-hate. Remember where you came from. Have a little faith. And feel the majesty of that moment when all fear vanishes and out blossoms the enveloping awe of a justified rage, a pivotal truth, in all her glorious unfurling furies of grace.

*u can call me ph!*