A regular Selected Entries for July 2004 will come later, but I feel that the journal entry I wrote on July 18, 2004, really epitomizes the experience of the month for me.
I was sixteen years old and staying for a summer in Decaying State with my birth-mother Anne, whose petty antics, when questioned, quickly escalated into psychotic misbehavior. By the middle of July I was being held against my will by a mentally unstable woman who threatened my life and denied me any communication with my legal guardian.
July 18, 2004
Today has been an absolutely terrible day.
Yesterday Anne and I got into a huge argument because she came home and nearly had a nervous collapse over some unwashed dishes. She actually had the theatrical idiocy to leave the house in “disgust.” In truth the only dish that I had was a single tea cup, which I was still using at the time of her outburst. When I pointed this out to her, she suddenly had no desire to discuss the matter.
So then I said, “Well, if you don’t want to talk about it when I want to talk about it, then just don’t talk to me about it.”
In this innocent statement I should have seen my awful error: anyone as easily offended and as fanatically self-righteous as Anne would have seized the moment, and seize it she did. Flaring up into full holier-than-thou, unjustifiably assaulted, horribly violated stance, she exclaimed with unimaginable indignity, “How dare you!”
I am honestly not making this up; she actually said it. I had committed the one truly unacceptable sin: not accepting frivolous rantings as legitimate and telling her that I had no intention to indulge her in them. Her tirade soon spread from dishes to all matters, no matter how unrelated.
She proceeded to tell me that I had conned my way to being invited to Grand Ma Normal Family's house and that I had done so by complaining to her about how miserable I was. In truth, I have told my grandmother only that I am a bit bored and want to do something productive, so I decided I’d take up her offer to help out around the house. Of course, I am quite accosted, but with my grandfather’s current medical condition that knowledge would only serve to exacerbate an already enormous strain on my grandmother's shoulders. I just hope that I can make things somewhat easier for her.
So, anyway, Anne says, “You’re in such a rush to get down there and help her, but you won’t help me!”
And, without exaggeration, I stood completely still for several moments, mouth open and everything, flabbergasted by her self-absorption. Still not quite over the ridiculous comment, I explained that Grand Ma’s dying-husband situation was a bit different than Anne's situation, at which point she further underscored her mind-numbing selfishness by screaming, “So what!?!”
I told Anne that for all she understood me she couldn’t read a book, let alone a mind. I told her that she was mediocre, at which point she told me that Marie, my adoptive mother, was the height of mediocrity and also that Grand Ma Normal Family was “a piece of shit” and “Native City white trash.”
That’s absolutely not true.
Grand Ma may not be as intelligent or well read as Anne, and she may not come from a scholarly or noble background, but she’ll always be a thousand times what Anne is.
My grandmother gives until it hurts and refuses to take, offers a shoulder to cry on and hides her own grief, flowers praise and allows herself none. She is, in short, the best person I’ve ever known. I’ve never once heard Grand Ma brag about her intelligence, money, marriage, or anything besides her grandchildren. And Anne has the gall to refer to her as trash.
The confrontation escalated and only ended with Anne calling my father and forwarding the boldfaced lie that I had called her a “worthless piece of shit.” Ironic, isn’t it? Here is where Anne miscalculated. My father knows me well and realizes that I just wouldn't speak that way, something he assured me he believed when I spoke with him this afternoon.
This morning I called Grand Ma and told her that I’d love to come tomorrow (as she originally suggested) because not much was going on here. Grand Ma asked me to request that Anne meet her in Beautiful Town tomorrow around twelve. I learned, much to my anguish, that Uncle Mustache had offered to take me to Sweet Aunt's house as recently as three days ago, in which case I’d be free and safe now. I called Anne to seek her approval, and, imagine, she was highly affronted. She went into a little speech about how I had completely gone over her head and how she was tired of my bullshit. At the end of my rope with her pretensions, I told her that I didn’t care what she was tired of and hung up the telephone.
I called Grand Ma back and she offered to send Uncle Mustache to retrieve me right away, a fantastic idea that I stupidly put on hold so as to get my father’s permission. Before I’d even hung up with Grand Ma, Anne called her husband Angry Man's cell phone with an order that I not have access to the telephone.
This is when I knew that a drastic course of action must be taken, for Anne had crossed the line from annoying drama queen to a woman who was trying to exercise nonexistent authority by cutting me off from my family and holding me against my will. Knowing that I must override her with extreme prejudice or become trapped, I left the house in search of a pay phone. When I could procure no means of public communication I returned home, ate, went over to Uncle Nose-Hair's house, and used his telephone. I reached my parents and told them everything.
My father assured me that some form of transportation would be procured tomorrow, Anne's wishes being inconsequential. For two glorious hours I thought that I would be rescued, and what a joy it was. You see, through her general malice and maddening conviction of her own superiority, Anne made a snake pit. In was in her decision to sever communications with my family that she implanted a feeling of desperation, of no escape. She got to my father and told him that she wouldn’t take me home tomorrow. My father told me to hang on and that there was nothing he could do.
Anne has decreed that Uncle Mustache will not be able to set foot on her property, which, if I recall my law lessons, makes my confinement here illegal because Uncle Mustache would of course have my father's blessing.
Lies spread to her entire family have turned against me any ally I might have here. She has infected co-workers and even my adoptive mother Marie with her vile theories, driving one of her male friends into such an uproar that he was reputedly ready to come over here and “drop” me. That she can entice a grown man into hitting a teenage boy shows the extent of her vicious manipulation.
She told me complete falsehoods about my father, claiming that he was fed up with me and amazed at my selfish nature. He denied this completely but Marie seemed a bit sucked in, which hit me like a knife to my heart.
Then, after I hung up, Anne went into a violent fit of shrieking in which she said that she wanted to slit herself with razor blades. She also started crying about being bullied as a child and Angry Man told her to get over it.
She often blames current traits on her mother or her grade school peers, and dwells constantly on the memories. I went through the same thing and recovered fully, without having to hash it over five times a day. Now, even hours later, she’s still calling every family member she can think of to whine. At present she’s telling Aunt Smugly Superior I am so vicious that I will drive her back to heroin addiction, self-mutilation, and “the depths of Hell.”
She’s also gone on extensively about how she won’t take me to Beautiful Town because Grand Ma Normal Family and Sweet Aunt would “crucify” her. She told Angry Man earlier that she was going to beat the crap out of me, tie me up, and then kill me.
She just finished discussing with Aunt Smugly Superior how my parents are “living the lie” and how my father destroyed her in a single day. Also, my parents apparently “laid the groundwork” for everything that’s now happening. I am truly afraid for my safety, as these rantings have been progressing all evening. Lord help us.
She’s referred to me as “a monster.” All of this when Marie is urging me to show Anne the respect she deserves as my mother. My father says that I quarrel with Anne because we are so alike. I have to believe that he is wrong, for if he is not, what do I have to live for? I’d rather be dead than be as tiresome and as oppressive to those I love as she is to me. I can’t wait to leave here.
Church comforted me a great deal this morning. I hope God will wrap me up in His Love, along with Grand Ma Normal Family, who needs it, too.