The night before, Thursday, I came home from Mock Trial team and spread my work out on the floor in the formal living, no one went in there so I could set to work on the mountains of projects I had to complete. My boyfriend called. He was older than me, my parents didn’t like that. We argued. I knew something was up. I didn’t know what.
I was sick. I was scared. I was hiding. I was running to try and find something- someone safe. He was angry- he knew I was not telling him things. I couldn’t tell him. I was terrified. Everything was so terrifying. Feelings were/are scary. They can’t be reasoned with they can’t be controlled.
My brother came home from work- he was staying with us while he was separated from his wife. We sat down for ‘dinner’. Which was tense. Always tense. Eggshells. One wrong word, glance, putting a fork down too hard and it would erupt into screaming and crying- saying awful things- just to hurt the other person- hurt them as much as I was hurting. I felt so empty so scared so alone. I felt everything and nothing at once.
Back to homework. I had a final paper to revise, AP physics to prepare for. Exams were next week.
I went to bed.
Set my alarm, made sure that my riding crop was under my pillow. I was terrified of my dad. I was scared- and my flimsy riding crop was all the protection I could muster. I passed out into a dreamless sleep.
The next bit gets a little fuzzy
I woke up. I think it was my parents at my bedroom door—with 2 strangers. I was told that I was going to Utah today—like now. At 4 am.
My mind raced- how could I stop this. How could this not happen. How could I stop it? I thought of saying I was pregnant- even though I hadn’t slept with anyone- but Illinois law said that a pregnant minor was emancipated from her parents. Then again, I wasn’t 100% sure of that and my brother was a lawyer- he would have planned for that reaction. Also, I was so thin- there is no way anyone would believe I was pregnant. My body could barely support me not another person too.
I realized at some point- that if I left- I may not like it- but I would be away. My parents could not hurt me so much every day. I wouldn’t have to see them an know I was a giant fuck up just ruining their lives maybe this could be ok. I agreed to go. But I asked about my group presentation that I had to present tomorrow… and what about finals? It would all be worked out they said.
I had a few moments to change- supervised. Go to the bathroom- supervised. I would have killed myself then. I would have just to not be so terrified.
I got dressed. Jeans, size 0- too big. A pink camisole. A black wool cardigan with pink roses. I could take very little: I took my violin, my stuffed bear Tasha (whom later in Utah I would hold and inhale the scent of home) and my favorite book- Pride and Prejudice. I asked to say good bye to my dog- Fred. My brother had him out for a walk. So I said good bye to my cat- Miss Meow. My parents asked to say goodbye to me, I told them to fuck off.
It was very cold. There was three feet of snow on the ground. We took off for O’hare- me and two escorts. Later I learned how good I had it. Other girls were drugged and taken. Others were handcuffed and taken. I went on my own.
On the airplane the escorts were nice to me- this was their profession. Taking girls to treatment so they may—just may survive whatever demons live in them. They gave me a letter my mom wrote to me. At first I was too mad. Too angry to read it- but as we passed over the Midwest curiosity got me. I read it. And lost what little composure I had. Everything everything came spilling out overflowing in a mess of tears. I was angry and so very hurt—and scared… but being hurt and scared but you on the defense- and that was an untenable position for me- anger was safer. But there comes a time when anger can’t hold everything back. My time for that was somewhere over Nebraska. I still have the letter.
They offered breakfast. A Danish. Orange Juice. Fat. Calories. Hell no.
When we landed I was handed off to Danielle and Matt. At first Danielle intimidated me- but later I grew to love her- she was the only one who could help me with my calculus.
What do you do, 4 days after your 17th birthday when you are sent across the country- with no notice- to a treatment center so maybe, maybe I could survive this and come out the other side?
What do you do when for as long as you can remember you have been not good enough- convinced your parents hated you- then get sent away? Seems to confirm everything I had thought.
I felt more alone then than I had ever felt. But a sense of odd relief. I wouldn’t have to see my parents and know I was letting them down. Hear the frustrated sighs, the disappointment.
The indignity got worse over the next few days and weeks—and I told myself that worst case scenario I would be there for 361 days- at which point I would become legally an adult. Seriously, it got bad.
One of the worst parts was it confirmed my worst fears. That I was not good enough to be part of our family- so they simply got rid of me- remember 17 year olds – especially 17 year olds who are starving aren’t the best at critical thought.
Going to Utah sucked. It was awful. But it saved my life. I still have my old therapist’s (Alan) email and phone number in my phone- and yes- when things are really shitty- I call him and 16 years later? He still answers me. The man is a saint.
Now- I still don’t let people get close to me. I don’t do feelings well. I prefer things that can me reasoned with and logiced (new word, just made it up) out. Feelings are too messy. Too much.
So today, I am a hot crying sobbing mess- and tomorrow it will be worse.
I am still friends with a lot of the girls who I got to know there- we had very different lives- but they were the first to help put me back together when I fell apart.
Now, so many years later- I lose it around my 'anniversary' both going and coming. I try and keep terribly busy- to keep the tears away, to try and hold it together. Inevitably, I fall to pieces a few time. A sobbing snotty mess. I can still smell the same smells feel the same feelings. Its like it is happening all over again.
I want to throw things, cry, have someone hold me and tell me its over, never will happen again-- and maybe pry my shoulders out of my ears- someone to be there to help stem the anxiety and fear.