FICTIONAL SHORT STORIES TO INSPIRE THE SOUL...
Visit www.christinwebb.com for details about her first published novel, Enough Time.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
This condition that I have seems to be controlling every facet of my life. My mom, even after the extensive talk with my doctors, refuses to accept that I may be like this forever. She yells at me every time I bring my grades home. Repeatedly shouting, “You know you can do better! You’re not focusing!” And all I want to respond to her is, “Well duh! That’s what the doctors say I will have problems doing!” But I don’t because she’s my mom and she just doesn’t get it. How could she?
She has worked so hard to make me the perfect daughter, or what she has always called me, “momma’s perfect little lady”. Between all the private schooling, etiquette classes, piano lessons, conversations and play dates with only the “elite” networks, she never imaged she’d learn that fifteen-year-old, “momma’s perfect little lady”, wasn’t really perfect. I was diagnosed with OCD.
The last few months have been very difficult for my family. Not too long ago, my mother and father decided to plan a family trip. My brother and I were all excited, but when the day came to leave, things went south. I found myself unable to pick which clothes to pack. I truly experienced various level s of anxiety and concern about making the right choices. While my father continued to try and explain to my mother to be more patient with me, her impatience, got the best of me and I declined in going. Not only did they leave me, but my brother had the nerve to send me pictures of them on the trip.
It was during that trip that I had the opportunity to read a great online book on how to live a "normal" life with OCD. It was inspiring to see not only was there a plethora of literature to make me more knowledgeable, but communitites to encourage others and be encouraged. It’s been a struggle for me, individually, but freeing simultaneously. It’s amazing how learning why you are the way you are can probably be one of the most relieving feelings you can ever be blessed to encounter. I’ve felt lost, confused, betrayed, and misunderstood, but I know it’s still a growing experience for all of us. And unfortunately, “momma’s perfect little lady” just wasn’t so.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
|"Is It Real?" does not own this photograph|
When I Was Eight…
“Brittani, come here child!” my father yelled in his baritone voice. He stood at the base of the hallway with one hand against the wall holding up his drunken broad stature and a bottle of Jack in the other. Without hesitation, I quickly stopped what I was doing and ran to his call.
“Yes, sir?” I responded as I approached him out of breath and startled by what his next command would be.
As his newly opened bottle spilled large drops of liquor in my eye, he began yelling, “Didn’t I tell you not to leave your toys on the front porch?!” Before I could answer, I felt the warm alcohol all over my face. Hurt and embarrassed, yet very familiar with expecting the worst, I stood there to take whatever was coming next. The next three hours being beaten, humiliated, and demeaned left me numb, yet sure that things couldn’t always be this way. When he had finally used all his energy to leave bruises and wounds on my small, frail body, he walked away as if nothing had happened.
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
When I Was Twelve…
My mother and father finally divorced by the time I was nine. The many nights of watching my mother crawl into corners in fear of his tyrant attitude had finally come to an end. However, the coming years of his harassment had just begun.
One day after school when I was twelve and as I waited for my mother, he pulled up in a new luxury vehicle he had just purchased. Obviously excited and wanting to boast to his daughter, he got out and told me he wanted to take me for a ride and to get ice cream.
“Dad, let me call mom first to let her know you’re picking me up,” I replied. I just wanted to be sure she knew where I was.
By the large sigh he let out, I knew he wasn’t pleased. “You don’t trust me or something? Why would you need to call her, huh?” he began. “I don’t get it?! I am your father. You don’t have to call her to tell her I’m picking you up. You just get your stupid self in this car,” he demanded. His tone quickly changed and his body language went from laid back to aggressive in a matter of milliseconds.
“But I don’t know if I should, dad. I don’t want her to come and then I’m not here. That’s all,” I responded. I actually didn’t want to go out of fear of what his growing anger may lead him to do. I had always been his punching bag. I didn’t think there was anything that would make that day any different from those in our past.
“I tell you what, you little ingrate,” he began as he picked me up by my neck and began to shake me uncontrollably, “You and your MOM, can go to hell. How dare you?” he yelled as he threw me to the ground and walked away. As if that wasn’t enough, but somehow luckily for me, there were other kids around, so the scene stopped there for him. Somehow I was relieved that he walked away. But I knew he’d be back.
When I Was Fifteen…
A few years and a few pleas of forgiveness later for his previous behavior, my dad’s diagnosis of colon cancer was progressing at a rapid rate. You would think being under that type of physical stress would change a person and make them try to change their lives, but unfortunately I’ve read that it’s rare for the narcissistic to do so. There was an afternoon when I’d gone by his hospital room to visit him while he was at one of his lowest points. Even at fifteen I had some insight into loving parents with unconditional emotion. When I arrived he immediately started in on me about showing up during his bathing period. It seemed to enrage him that I was seeing him in that state.
“How dare you show up without calling me, girl?! You have absolutely no right being here right now. You’re so stupid!”
Before I could even make it out of dodge, he threw a bowel-filled bed pan at me and continued to yell obscene language of disgust at me. The nurses helped clean me up. While my father just walked out of the room, patient gown wide open in the back, yelling and cursing his anger of the situation.
When I Was Eighteen...
By the time I graduated from high school, I had made the decision that I was not going to allow my father to be a part of my life anymore. He had put through enough abuse and shame. I was beginning to see that I was becoming more responsible for my own life. Three days after my graduation my father showed up at my mother’s house to give me a graduation present. That was the last thing I expected to receive from him. When I turned five he refused to buy any gifts because he had bet all his money on a basketball game with one of his mechanic shop buddies.
I opened the door surprised by a bouquet of red roses and a box wrapped perfectly. My mom would have been very upset to know I let him in her house. She despised him. She just couldn’t shake the wrong he had imposed on her.
I took a chance. Probably the wrong chance. “Ok, dad, you can come in, but for no more than thirty minutes. Momma comes home from work pretty soon,” I demanded as he walked in. I could smell the loud cologne he was wearing. And his attire was rather sharp than normal. Even his shoes seemed to have had a recent professional buffing. The one thing that hadn’t changed was his alcohol induced breath. It was the first thing that I noticed as he kissed me on the lips walking past me. I was stunned.
“Hey, baby girl,” he began headed for the couch. “I want you to know that your daddy is real proud of you. You know, graduating and all.” Then he paused. He looked at me waiting for a response, but I was still in shock from the kiss at the door. Holding my lip trying to make sense of the kiss, he continued. “I know I haven’t always been the best dad. Heck some would say a little too hard on you sometimes, but it was all because I didn’t know how to express my love for you.” He got up from the couch and walked over closer to me. Put his arm around my waist and turned me face to face to shock me with the most disgusting words I’d ever heard.
“If I could have just been able to say how in love with you I was, I may not have been so hard on you. I love you and have always seen something special in you. Now you’re a grown woman. I know it may not seem normal to you at first as you hear this, but I need you honey.” My eyes must have had a very profound statement in them because he immediately seemed to know he had crossed a forbidden line.
“Daddy, you stop with that right now. That’s nonsense!” I began to yell to him. I was beginning to be more bold with my dislike of his actions, but he was about to shut me down once again. He quickly walked over to me, slapped me with all his mite, then spit on me as I lay on the ground in pain and disgust for having even opened the door. Pinning me down, he spent the next fifteen or so minutes forcing me to perform fellatio on him. I was ashamed and felt like he had ripped my very soul from my body. He stole all the strength I had mustered up inside. He took it all away. How he was able to consciously do that still baffles me, but some things are never to be known, I guess. Before he walked out the door, he promised he would kill me and my mother if I ever opened my lips about what had happened. I believed him and I didn’t.
When I Was Twenty-One…
It had been 3 years since I last spoke to my father. I think he knew what he had done was wrong and I for sure was not trying to revisit anything that reminded me of him. I was in my junior year of college and finally feeling like I was getting to some level of comfort with myself. I was learning to accept that all the things my father had done was because he was a sick man. Even with his physical illness, he was not capable of seeking the good out of himself, let alone others.
It was Fall and the weather was quite crisp in the late night air. I awakened from a nightmare reliving the horrible day my father molested me. I was sweating from brow to brow and had only one thing on my mind: GET RID OF THE MAN THAT CONTINUES TO WALK OUT OF MY LIFE. That same night I drove to my father’s house in search of answers, in search of an apology, in search of something from the man that stole everything from me.
As I honked my car horn in his driveway, the lights in the house came on and I could see his, now feeble and aged silhouette from the window of his bedroom. Five minutes later, he came out in his robe with no pants on looking mad as the dickens.
“Get in the car,” I yelled. “Get in the car!” I could feel the adrenaline running through my veins as he walked closer to the car.
“Quit all that damn honking. It’s midnight for God’s sake!” he yelled back, waving his hands as he walked towards the car door. He reluctantly got in, but sat in the passenger seat, all frowns. “What the hell you doing all this for? You trying to get someone killed?”
“No daddy, I’m trying to get some answers. Some closure. I need to know why you continued to hurt me over and over again!” I cried at the top of my lungs. He just sat and looked forward out the window. “It’s been repeated nights, since I was eight, that I can remember just being scared of not waking up, daddy! And it’s all because of how you treated me. Even after you and mom split the pain seemed to grow stronger! I just want to know why you wanted me dead!” I continued as he remained stoned face and unchanged by my plea for understanding. I was looking for some remorse for what he had done to me. And I got nothing. I stopped my plea. I cleared my teary eyes and wiped my face. I gave up.
When I had gathered myself and he realized I was finished with my questions, he quietly got out of the car, raised his hand, and waved goodbye. He started towards the house just as unconcerned about my needs. He was always able to walk away from doing me wrong. As if my life meant nothing. He tried to make me invalid. He tried to take away everything I would ever be able to become. I couldn’t let him do it anymore. I reached under the driver’s seat and pulled out the gun that I always kept for protection. I shot him.
I just couldn’t let him walk away from me again.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
"Baby! Are you ok?" Hubbert whispered as he repeatedly shook Jenae who was still asleep. She was howling in fear and jerking her body as if she was having a seizure. After about ten minutes of this, she eventually woke up. Her breathing was short. Her body again flooded with sweat, she nodded her head in response as she sat up against the wooden headboard of their king size bed. Turning the light on, "I'm not trying to tell you what to do, hun, but I think it's time you went to talk to someone about this. Tonight makes seven weeks that you have not been able to sleep through the entire night because of this nightmare. I'll be here for you, but it's not healthy. Heck, it's not healthy for either of us to be honest."
Wiping her forehead she replied, "I don't know baby. I keep thinking they're going to go away. The nightmares just seem to become more real every night I close my eyes. I just don't get it. It's like she keeps trying to make my life miserable one way or another."
"Well I just want you to be ok. I have a friend named Ferald Guy that handles things like this. You want me to give him a ring?" he continued.
"Let me think about it. I know you're only looking out for me, but talking about these nightmares aren't going to be easy for me."
"And not talking about them isn't going to help you move forward. Somehow you've got to let go of your past; especially the bad thoughts. I love you sweetie and just want what's best," he replied reassuring her with a kiss to the forehead and holding her close to his chest as they eventually dozed back off to sleep.
The next morning, Hubbert's plea to Jenae really got her to thinking. Over breakfast, she asked Hubbert to give her the number to Dr. Ferald Guy so she could begin some journey to emotional resolution. Around lunch, she decided to give him a call to schedule her first appointment.
The meeting was scheduled later that week. As the days got closer to the appointment, Janae felt her level of anxiety revert back and forth from zero to one hundred in a matter of seconds. She was intrigued by what the results of the meeting would be, but also petrified of verbally sharing her past with a stranger.
The day of the meeting arrived and Hubbert agreed to drive Janae to the appointment for she was too nervous to get behind a steering wheel. He walked her through the sign-in process and sat with her in the waiting room as they anticipated the doctor's appearance. Hubbert browsed some of the magazines strategically positioned on the coffee tables, while Janae just fiddled with her perfectly manicured fingernails. After about fifteen minutes, Janae was called to the back. She grasped Hubbert's hand tightly as she stood to head back. He gripped hers in return and nodded to assure her everything would be ok.
Down the white walled hallway, Janae began to focus on the abstract pictures that outlined them. All were framed with steel iron, which seemed to enhance the image of each almost perfectly. As she and the receptionist reached the office, one of the pictures caught her eye. It reminded her of her childhood in Mississippi. She was the sixth of seven other siblings; three boys and four girls. Her mother was an elementary teacher and father a local store owner. Considering the period she was raised, her family was pretty well off. The picture reminded her of the house she grew up in. It was a two story, brick house, with a large front porch that was decorated with rosebushes and flowerbeds and a swing that her father built when she was four years old. The swing used to be one of her favorite memories of the house, but by the time she turned seventeen it had become part of her nightmares.
The receptionist led her to her chair as she waited for the doctor, Ferald Guy, to enter. When he did, he came in with a welcoming smile and a few jokes to try to lighten her mood. Without responding, she just returned hesitant smiles. She had become ready to just get it all over with.
"So, Miss Janae Hillard, what brings you to visit me today?" he began.
"Well, as I mentioned briefly in our phone conversation, I need to try to discover what's got me holding on to my past so tightly," she responded.
Before getting to the meat of the meeting, they spent the first few minutes becoming more acquainted with one another. Janae shared her background with Dr. Guy. And he shared his with her to make her more comfortable.
"Ok. First tell me what are the signs that let you know you are holding on to it?" he inquired.
"I guess the most significant thing is these nightmares I continue to have. They come almost every night nowadays," she replied.
"How long have you had the nightmares? I mean, when did they start?"
"I would say since I was seventeen."
"And how old are you now?"
Answering hesitantly, she replied, "Thirty-five. I'll be thirty-six in December."
"So, for over fifteen years, you've been trapped by your past through these nightmares?"
"Yes. And they haven't happened every day for the last fifteen years. They come and go. Sometimes months go by that I don't experience them, but in general, they have always been around," she answered beginning to feel herself choke up.
Handing her a tissue, Dr. Guy continued, "Not to drag you to a place you wish you didn't have to go, could you describe the nightmares to me? Only if you feel comfortable to do so now."
"I'm ok. I came here for a reason, so I should just get it out. The nightmares involve me watching my best friend die. It's like I'm standing at the edge of the porch of my family house. My best friend is standing on the first step next to the porch. She's smiling. Yet, my face is full of anger and hatred," she began to open up.
"And what happens from that point? Why are you angered" he continued to inquire about the nightmares.
"In some of the nightmares, I just walk away from her. She's chastising me. Calling me names. Telling me I was worthless and would never be accepted by anyone. In others I relive what actually happened," she began. As she started to let him in on one of the biggest secrets of her life, she begins to tear up and reaches for more tissues.
"Take your time, Janae. I don't want this to be a bad experience for you, but a therapeutic one," he said as comfort while handing her bottled water and more tissue.
Her mind began to become a little cluttered as she couldn't believe she was about to let go of the biggest events ever in her life. She hadn't even shared the truth with Hubbert. And they'd been together for six years up to this point. She finally calmed down to just spit out what happened to Dr. Guy.
"In the nightmares where I relive the truth, I find myself crying over her body wishing she'd come back to life, but it's always too late. Just as it was too late back then. What actually happened, Dr. Guy, is that I killed my best friend, Lorriane. She had come over my house earlier that day to tell me she was dating the guy I was so infatuated with. I remember telling her that she was low down for doing so. She knew I really liked him and wanted to be with him; however I didn't have the confidence to do anything about it. She was so happy when she told me. And it just enraged me to no end. In the nightmares when I walk away, I wish that was actually what happened, but unfortunately, it wasn't. As she stood on the step smiling from ear to ear she kept repeating, "He wouldn't want you anyway, Janae. You're not his type. You never show that you could even deal with someone like him. Why would he want you anyways?" The anger just grew and grew inside of me, Dr. Guy. I hated her so much at that moment. I mean, how could she say such things to me. Seriously? We were best friends, I thought. I remember getting up off the swing on our porch and walking over to her. I got in her face as we stood toe to toe. I tried to make her stop saying those horrible words to me, but she wouldn't. She continued to just taunt me and tell me why I wasn't good enough. I couldn't think of anything to do, but push her. And that's what I did," Janae admitted.
"Wow, that's a lot to carry for this long, Janae," Dr. Guy replied. He didn't say it in a judgemental way, but in a concerned tone. "What happened after that, Janae?"
"She fell down our stairs, head first and landed on her head. She died almost instantly, I later learned. I told my parents, her parents, and the police that she just lost her balanced when she was walking up to the swing to talk to me. I felt so horrible, but I didn't want to go to jail. I didn't want to suffer the consequences that could follow."
"Would you say you have anyway?" he inquired.
Crying she answered, "Yes. I haven't had a successful friendship since then. My relationship with others seems to always fail. Even with Hubbert, we've been together six years, but for whatever reason, we haven't married. I think its been punishment for what I did to her so long ago. I don't know what to do about it? I don't know how to fix it."
"Do you think there is a fix, Janae?" Dr. Guy began, "I mean, what do you think you could do to correct this and be able to move on?"
Looking up at him with a questionable eye, Janae knew he was alluding to her telling someone other than him about it. "I know what you're getting at, Dr. Guy, but I'm not sure I can do that. What if I have to go to jail? I don't want to do that?"
"Do you think you owe it to anyone to tell the truth? I usually say the truth is what releases our handicaps in life. What if telling this truth, really helps you move on, Janae?" he continued. "It's something to think about. I think the nightmares have continued because the truth has not been told. This particular past has been holding on to you because you may have never addressed it properly. We all have pasts we are not proud of and the only way we can truly walk away from them is to face them. Until then, Janae, the nightmares may never go away. It's as if they are pleading for you to face your past."
"I hear you, Dr. Guy, and I guess it's something I have thought about repeatedly, but I just don't know if I can do it. I just don't."
"Well, I believe you know what the right thing to do is. And I suspect that after you leave this office today, you'll begin to heavily consider correcting this that has been haunting you for the last eighteen years. Just remember, if you choose to do the right thing, your soul will at least be free. Whatever the consequences may be. And who knows there may not be any at all. I can't say what will happen, but I urge you to do what's right. You owe it to yourself, your friend, her family, and your future. Open up, let go, and do what's right. You may be amazed at the outcome."
The idea of having to face this past was very scary to Janae, but three weeks after her visit with Dr. Guy, she decided that she would call Lorriane's parents and let go of her past. She did just that. Surprisingly, they were thankful and forgiving to Janae. She was finally able to move on with her life.
It's amazing how we can some times keep ourselves in bondage when it only takes one moment in time to release ourselves and live freely. We often think the consequences of a situation are the most to be feared when in reality, it is ourselves that we fear the most.