Tag Archive | physical abuse

Life: The Masquerade Ball

Since August 3rd I have been on a Contiki group holiday travelling from Los Angeles to New York.  At the beginning of this article, I am in a hotel abutting the beach in Panama City Beach, Florida.  For most people, this state of events is ideal and has the potential for wonderful times and indescribable adventures.  Sadly, as you will all have picked up by now, I am not most people.  Neither my brain nor my heart will permit me to compute the idea of a month of such glee or merriment.  I simply cannot stress enough just how frustrating it is to me that I so desire to join in the fun and have a great time with the new friends Pippa has made (for reason I address myself in 3rd person here, see..) and yet, there never comes a time when control of the requisite organs to appreciate my situation rests in my hands.  My illnesses are constantly usurping my power and forcing me to conceal the true madness behind the mask (yes, I am a Phantom of the Opera fan!).

The Pippa I was before I became medicated and up-to-a-point subdued and diluted would have been standoffish and shy to a fault, but eventually she would have found her feet and met her lobster (Friends has been playing on the coach!).  Sadly, the Pippa who survived assault and constant mental, emotional and physical abuse with scant comfort to punctuate the suffering, attempts to fit in and finds her lobster but buckles under the strain of being so constantly watched and masked in front of strangers.  That is what has happened in the midpoint of this wonderful trip that has been eagerly anticipated for years.

Precisely halfway through my sojourn abroad my mood took a nosedive.  My sleeping hasn’t been too bad, which can sometimes lead to depression, yet just before a wild night in NOLA (New Orleans), most of which I do not recall, I felt as though I had no reason to live.  I had just seen the most beautiful natural sight I’m sure I’ll ever see: the sunset over the bayou in Louisiana from an airboat floating on calm waters.  I’ve included one of the pictures I captured of the moment that nearly brought me to tears but though it is a cliché thing to say, you really did have to be there sitting at the front of the boat with spray hitting you and showing you just how alive you are at that moment in time.  I felt free and alone in a crowd.  It was perfection.  There was no pressure, there was no suffering, there was no thinking or living.  There was just being.  I thought it God’s gift.  Sadly, as I have previously said, the greater the gift from God, the harsher and greater the payment owed to the Devil.  The Devil took his payment in full not three hours later (even Faustus had more time to settle his debts!) when I determined to drink my way down the notorious Bourbon Street in New Orleans.  It has been said that I was “drinking like I didn’t want to live” and I am forced to agree with my travelling companions.  I did not want to live.  Life will never be as perfect or easy to deal with as it was on that boat in the middle of the swamp seeing a spectacular sunset, and somewhere, subconsciously, my broken brain told my broken heart that both should go down after a high like that and then my entire system was in agreement that Bourbon Street would be a location where I tried to die happy rather than England where I have attempted to die miserable many times.

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Louisiana Sunset

I remember the entirety of Bourbon Street, including the bulimic attack I had during a helping of gumbo.  I even remember being cogent enough to request the Uber to take me and my two friends back to our hotel.  The last thing I remember is getting into bed at probably about 2am, but after that, I have no clue what befell me or my roommate, though I am told I was a very abrasive drunk.

Drinking like I didn't want to live...

Drinking like I didn’t want to live…

Since then, I don’t know if I am almost disappointed that I am not dead or if I am just reacting to the poor opinion of me that the other passengers now have, but my mood has refused to be improved.  Despite my proverbial inhalation of my SSRIs and antidepressants, my bulimic attacks have not slowed up or gone away and I cannot get into the spirit of the trip as well as I was before I grew tired of wearing the mask that showed the rest of the world the portrait of a sane person, while beneath there resides a broken, bat-shit crazy bitch.

When I am back home, I wear a mask to a certain extent with people I do not trust or have only just met, but when you are spending a month in the company of the same people and without resorting to Facebook and Instagram stalking – something I refuse to do with my time – you have no idea who they really are as much as they cannot tell who you are.  When it’s a fortnight or less, it’s not so bad because I can keep it together (more or less…) for that duration of time, but I’ve never had to maintain a constant mask for over four weeks and to paraphrase the great Tennessee Williams, I’ve never had to depend on the kindness of strangers for so long.  It’s exhausting and it made me think about how often I don the mask and thereafter how long I wear it in the company of others.

I have since made up my mind and decided that none may know me as long as I live, save my children and the only love of my life.  They are the only ones with whom I feel – or will feel – safe.  As such, I wear a mask to all others to protect myself from being further broken and rendered unable to show my face to those who have to see it, who deserve to see it, who must see it.

Anyway, I’ll leave you all with that thought as I sit watching my roommate get ready to go to a club in Miami Beach that according to a club promoter I am too ugly, too big and not sufficiently “Miami” enough (yes, I am using Miami as an adjective that’s how low my self-esteem is currently, that without the mask I’m still too warped physically for the world that the Grammar Nazi in me has checked out for the night!).

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

20-08-2015

Motherhood

“In a child’s eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe.”

~ N.K. Jemisin, “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms”

At this point, I would just like to shed a bit of light on my relationship with my mother.  Over my life I’ve met a few people with notable mother-child relationships.  Some people are lucky enough to have a mutually loving relationship with their mothers, others have mothers who adore them but they cannot love them back and vice versa.  I don’t know which of these broad categories my mother and I fit into but I am going to try and pinpoint it in this post – if I can…

My childhood was traumatic.  It felt incredibly harsh and almost as if it didn’t exist at all.  I still swear that when I was twelve years old I was at my most mature.  I am an only child born to parents who were already looking at their prime in the rear-view mirror at the time of my birth.

I am not laying any blame for how I’ve turned out at my parents’ feet, I just feel it is a contributor to the negative as it is to the positive as well and thus, needs to be shown as part of what happens to make a young adult with such a cocktail of mental disorders.  

I will start by saying that my relationship with my father is uncommonly strong.  We talk almost everyday for about an hour each time and I love my daddy.  Even when both of us – since neither of us are the most talkative of folks – run out of things to say, it is one of the most comforting things for me just to know that my father is on the other end of the line just listening to me and spending time with me.

Contrarily, my mother and I do not have a solid or stable relationship at all.  When I was in school, I attended counselling to deal with various problems that – I feel – stemmed from how I felt about my mother and how I perceived her feelings for me.  I am not going to lie about anything here to make people feel better or to sugarcoat what happened.  This is my story and I intend to tell it how it really happened, though, there are two sides to every story, but I’m telling mine.

When I was a child I was hit.  There, I’ve said it.  I was slapped for things I did wrong, I was hit for making mistakes.  It was a time when it was acceptable for parents to smack their children and some of my friends had the same punishment tradition at their homes and a few claim to be glad that their parents struck them as it supposedly made them disciplined, but I do not share in that view.  I don’t at all.  I think it is the most loathsome and cowardly thing to strike a child and there is no excuse for it whatsoever.  It literally makes me weep when articles come up in newspapers and headlines come up on news channels telling the story of some poor innocent child being killed by negligent parents or being beaten to death.  I am thus not even capable of thinking about hurting a child and I am quick and harsh to judge people who do.

The fear a child can have of their mother is a horrible thing.  I was plagued with night terrors all through my formative years and they’ve only just begun to dissipate now with the help of medication and audiobooks, actually.  Some of my earliest memories are of running through my parents’ bungalow from my mother.  It is what prompted me to ask for a bunk bed at Christmas and what makes me still need to lock my bedroom door at home in order to get a decent night’s kip.  Never underestimate how a ladder can keep you safe when your mother has a back problem!

The annoying and incredibly vexing aspect of the relationship my mother and I share is that it is so changeable and difficult to read.  One of my former best friends once told me that every child is genetically predisposed to love and cling to their mother and I suppose that is true. She is a graduate psychologist so I might as well take her word for it.  This primal instinct is what keeps me coming back and never being able to truly let go of the aspiration that one of these days, my mother and I will put everything behind us and stop this endless cycle of cruelty that has been fostered for two whole decades…hopefully, while I’m still young!

Some days, my mother is the ideal mother, she is a fantastic cook – honestly, no one can make as nice a proper Indian prawn curry as my mum can.  On those days, no one loves her more than me.  Sadly, those days are few and far between…most of the time, my mother despises me and resents me and blames me for everything that has gone wrong in her life.  When I was born, she was kept in hospital due to a badly done epidural and I was a sick baby so I was a nightmare and a problem then too, but I think that possibly due to that separation so soon postpartum, our relationship was affected permanently.

On the days when my mother is a gorgon sent from Tartarus, it is not even worth stepping foot outside my room just to be called fat and huge and useless and weak.  This is the ultimate point of what the relationship with my mother has done to contribute to my condition.  It is not the words or the actions themselves, it is how intimidating and memorable those insults and strikes are when you are literally at rock bottom and have to work up to no self-esteem.  That is the effect of a poor mother-daughter relationship on a depressed, socially anxious and mythomanic child who didn’t quite manage the transition to young adult as easily as it’s done in “The Sims”.

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

28-01-2014