Thursday, April 16, 2009

So here's what happened...Vol. 1

I'm sure it's going to take me more than one waaay-too long blog post for me to tell the whole damn story, so I'm just going to give in to breaking it up into chewable chunks.  I just think in long, windy paragraphs, dammit, and that's how it is.  I have the hardest time in the world sharing, and I can rarely say more than a few words strung together, but I can't shut up at the keyboard.  Actually, that's part of why I'm sharing this here, both to try to organize my thoughts, and so that anybody who's worried about me can get a peek inside my head, help me check what's going on there. 

So back in January of this year I went to visit my family in Roswell, New Mexico.  It was great.  I took the train, and that was really fun, I met a lot of nice people.  I got to stay with my brother and Clint in their big-ass gorgeous house in Roswell and use their Mercedes to get around and take lots of pictures and only see the rest of my family as I could stand it.  I had been keeping my drinking more under control than normal at that time, and was thinking about quitting smoking cigarettes (again) while I was there.

My brother wanted to have a party on Saturday and invite a few of his friends so they and I could get to know each other.  I was totally against it, so I told him it sounded like a great idea and helped him shop and cook.  I was so nervous, I ended up almost cutting my right middle finger off with a cheese knife (whole other story).  I should have told him I couldn't do it.  I should have been honest and protective of myself and admitted that I hated the whole idea and asked to be excused, and maybe spent the night at my parents' apartment.  So I drank 23 Coronas and probably 4 or 5 shots of liquor, that people saw.  I horrified my brothers friends with a lot of wild talk (Sample line:  "Ohhhh, girl, they got this new dildo without straps--it gotz this handle that you grip with your pussy muscles so it's good for you and you get off, and you know that would be hella fun with a girl but I can think of half a dozen boys I'd rather use it on!")  Then I got weepy and paranoid and angry and started a fight with my brother.

A physical fight that eventually got so intense he got scared for both of us and called my dad to help calm me down.  I broke my phone trying to hit him with it, and I fell and (he thought) broke off my front teeth on the sidewalk, and gashed my bottom eyelid on a lawn-sprinkler-head.  I bit him so hard he saw stars.  I ran away from him barefooted and got my feet full of really gnarly desert thorns that it took me more than a month to get all out.  Somehow he and my dad got me in a car and dad drove me to his apartment.  

Where I started it all again.  I ran into a barbed-wire fence in the dark and cut up my legs, and got more stickers in my feet, hands and knees.  I physically fought my dad and verbally abused him as much as I had my brother.  Eventually a neighbor called the cops, and the cops came.  My mom was scared and sad, and tried to talk the cops out of taking me, but they had to take somebody, so I convinced her they had to take me.

I was fully in a blackout.  I remember little flashes, but I had to be told most of it.  But as soon as the cops turned up, I was the best little girl in the world.  I patiently explained the particulars of domestic violence laws to my parents, and even argued with them that the law was fair and they had to let it go down the way it had to go down.  I thanked the officers for not arresting my father, and told them that I started it and that it was my fault because I was drunk.  I thanked the officers for being kind to us all, and I asked them if I could collect my things and say goodbye before they took me.  I asked them to explain what was going to happen next to my parents.

My mom called my brother, and he and my cousin, who is in law enforcement, came over to help my folks understand what was going on.  I went to jail.  I remember that one officer kept saying, "You're 32 years old.  You're 32 years old.  What are you doing?  You're 32 years old."  I kept asking him his name, desperate to remember it, but I have no recollection of it.  Every single person that dealt with me in the jail was incredibly kind and respectful.  They booked me and took me to the nurse, and put me in a single cell in the medical wing until they could be sure I didn't have a serious head/brain injury or DT's or something else really bad wrong with me.  I stayed there for 20 hours, totally alone except for a few moments when someone brought me a meal or took away my tray, or when the nurse came to check me.

It was freezing cold, and I was drunk for a long, long time.  I felt really sorry for myself, and angry at everyone for letting/making this happen to me.  I blamed everybody.  I blamed people I didn't even know.  At the same time, I was trying to be the best prisoner EVER so they would keep being nice to me and let me out soon.  I was being respectful and trying to demonstrate that I would obey the rules and follow orders.  I was eager to please, but also very, very confused and not sure what was going on.  It was hard to sleep, and I felt scared and deprived and disoriented.  I wanted very badly to be away from there, sleeping in a real bed with real covers on it, wearing real clothes.  At some point I realized somewhere deep inside my brain that I had performed actions, of my own volition, that had deprived me of the RIGHT to do those things.

That no one had just done this to me.  Or let it happen to me.  That I had knowingly and willfully violated the common social contract so badly that I was going to have to face the consequences that I knew, in advance of the violating actions, would be possible afterwards.  I was stunned.  It hurt so much I could barely breathe.  I did it to myself, and I had known that it could happen.  I just thought I would get away with it.  I thought somebody would let it slip by, like so many somebodies had done before.  I wished, and I wished, and I finally even prayed.  I wondered why they hated me so much that they couldn't let it slip by one more time, just this one last time.  

What clinched it was that everyone in that jail was as kind and as gentle and respectful as a really good parent disciplining a beloved child.  They weren't doing it to be mean.  They felt sorry that they had to lock me up, and they wished me well.  They went out of their way to help me and make me feel more comfortable.  Some time after breakfast, they came to get me.  I didn't know what was happening, and they took me to a visiting room.  I thought maybe a lawyer was coming to see me.  I had pretty much resigned myself to losing my family at that point.  I had tried to accept, for a little while, that I had finally violated their trust so much that I couldn't get it back.  I put my head down on the table to wait for the lawyer to be brought to the other side of the glass.

When I picked up my head, my mother, father, brother, Clint and my grandma Dot were standing there, holding the horrible little phone receiver and taking turns to talk to me.  I cried and cried.  They cried and told me that the shame in my eyes was terrible to see and they wanted to fill me up with love to make it go away.  They told me to start over, to not dwell on it, to know that they loved me and would never give up on me, no matter how hard I tried to make them.  They told me that they would always be there for me, even if they had to do it through bulletproof glass.  They told me I might be in jail for 18 months, and that I wouldn't find out for sure until my hearing, about a week away.  I went back to my cell weeping, joyous, terrified and aghast.  

And I'm going to stop there.  I got out in time to not even miss any school or my return ticket on the train, and I'm three months sober now, so don't get your panties in a bunch.  I'll tell the rest tomorrow or the next day.