Indigo Survivors: Pt 1

I have a disease.

It’s been killing me slowly since the day of my birth.

There is no cure. No remedy. No magical potion.

It’s terminal.

Hi. My name is Trish.

And I am an Indigo Survivor.

This is just a small piece of my story…


Not so long ago someone close to me accused me of “living a lie”. Told me I was a “survivor’ as if it were a dishonorable thing. And because it was someone whose opinion of me matters, for the first time ever, I actually felt ashamed to be labeled Survivor.

More recently, someone else close to me told me to “just be honest” about how I was feeling. As if all the truths I had shared with them were suspect, and all my spoken emotions were a lie.

Naturally, I bristled at the implication of being anything but authentic. But lately I’ve been thinking about exactly what they were both trying to tell me.

I am not defending my person. Or making excuses. That’s not what I aim to do with personal disclosure. No. This is more an out-loud witnessing of an epiphany on my journey to self discovery. My blog has always been a form of therapist. A sacred space to share my truth. No excuses are needed here. I am who I am.

Flawed. Imperfect. Struggling. Coming Out Crooked. Trish.

Period.

But self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-love are huge parts of personal growth. And I am a full-bodied YES for personal growth. Over the past two years I have been learning to do all three parts, and in doing so I’ve come to recognize and applaud the human condition in all its brilliant colors.

And in this moment I am recognizing that I am a fucking rainbow!

When you live your entire life in survival mode, you learn to lie in order to please people. And you learn to do it really well. A well crafted lie can make all the difference. Between acceptance and rejection. Between violence and safety. Between life and death. And if there is anything I have learned about human nature, it’s that we all want to be accepted. And that our very survival depends on it. Some of us do some crazy-ass, fucked up shit to get there. But, in the end, we all just want to be loved.

For me, the lies and people pleasing began in early childhood when seeking kindness, warmth and love. Things that should have been birthrights, but weren’t. The lies and the people pleasing began when the message become clear that I was not good enough the way that I was.

That I had to change who I was in order to be loved.

A fucked up message to be sure.

But one that has resonated with me, and been confirmed, time and time again.

Until it became my reality.

I understood this message when trying to survive an abusive, teenage mother. Then later, trying to survive systemic corruption in a system that was supposed to care for neglected and abused children. Then later, enduring the touch of a mans hand on my babyish body. Then later, suffering the physical attacks of a bullying foster-sister. Then later, in rejection from an emotionally vacant foster-mother. Then later, in surviving the near death experience from my abusive, full-grown, biological mother. Then later, in the pounding, bone breaking fists of a pimp. Then later, in the selling and buying of my body. Then later, in the sanctioned rapes of a husband.

Ya. I’ve been through some shit.

And yes. I learned to lie.

To the world.

To myself.

But more importantly, I learned to survive.

I learned to manipulate, finagle, cheat, swindle, contrive, plot, scheme, trick and obscure the truth in every case scenario where Fear demanded my actions. Fear of Abuse. Fear of Abandonment. Fear of Anger. Fear of Confrontation. Fear of Emotional Hurt. Fear of Not Being Accepted. Fear of Not Surviving.

Sometimes my very life depended on my ability to tell the perfect lie. And, in many ways, the lies became my truth. So the bigger question here could be, “Am I really ever lying?”

For people like me, over time, the lies take on life much bigger than ourselves. They become our alter ego. Our Prominent Self. They become so embodied, so enmeshed into our person, that they bleed into the very heart of our being. And the lines between what we want and what others want from us become ridiculously blurred, to the point of self obscurity. And they become as natural to us as breathing.

But, I do need to stress something here.

These are not lies meant to hurt or deceive or destroy another person. They are meant for protection. For survival. They are in place to please the people who make emotional demands on us. Who tell us they will love and accept us, if we do thisor that.

And so we do.

The lies are compromises.

And built-in safeguards against abuse, violence and neglect.

And they ensure our invisibility.

The less we demand for ourselves, the safer we are.

And the sad thing is.

We don’t even realize it’s happening.

We. Just. Do. It.

Why?

Because somewhere along the way we learned that we had to change who we were in order to be loved.

A fucked up message to be sure.

And one that has resonated with me, and been confirmed, time and time again.

Until it became my reality.

So why do I call myself an Indigo Survivor?

Well, today I learned that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the ribbon color is Purple. I didn’t know that. Did you? Kinda gives a whole new meaning to the movie The Color Purple. And like Whoopi’s character, Celie, I too have lived the greater part of my life in the purple shadow of domestic abuse. Then I learned that October is also Child Abuse Awareness Month and the ribbon is Blue. Who knew?

But what about the millions of survivors who live smack dab in the middle? Like me. Well, I think we need a colored ribbon too. And it should be Indigo.

Nuff said.

And the people pleaser part? Well, that’s pretty evident in my testimony.

I have been socialized from birth to make myself agreeable. Not to rock the boat.

Taught to sacrifice my needs for the needs of others. To make others happy.

And in return I’ve been promised love.

Mostly I didn’t get it.

But sometimes I did.

Somewhere between all the varying shades of black and blue there is the perfect shade of Indigo.

If I’d had a choice, would I have lived a different life? Been a different color?

Absofuckinglootely!

But I didn’t have a choice.

So I’ve made the best of the Life I’ve been given.

And at the end of the day, I haven’t done half bad.

So ya… I am a Survivor. And fucking proud of it!

And we Indigo Survivors deserve a recognition ribbon too, dammit!


Side note: The inspiration for this post came from my home-girl, Tikeetha. Then, just now, I read another amazing blog post from rarasaur. Two truly inspirational women who, in the telling of their stories, have given me the powerful gift of inclusion. It’s healing. Reminds me I am not alone in this crazy life I’ve lived. And somehow validates my person.

Thank you ❤

To be continued…

Advertisements

Lonely Roads

Not sure what it is about traveling on the bus that makes me feel so nostalgic. Perhaps, because a good part of this life has been spent on buses traveling from one life to another. One family to another. One lover to another. Seeking identity. Searching for kindness. Wanting love. Moving in between the grays of safety and abuse.

Feels like I’ve been doing this a long time. Chasing a thing. Running from a thing. A lonely traveler carrying a bag packed with little pieces of me. Faithfully transient. A contemplative companion to the lonely roads I see through rainswept windshields.

Aware always.

Of the sadness that travels with me.

And the life I never lived.


Bus blues? Maybe.

But it’s a thing.

Today.

First Memories…

“Parents have such formidable power. They can protect you from all the pain in the world. Or inflict the hardest pain of all. And as children we accept what we get. Perhaps we believe that anything is better than that which we all fear the most: loneliness and abandonment. “
Author: Linda Olsson


I wasn’t born abandoned. I had a family once. A dark haired, flashing eyed Ojibwa vixen and an African American casanova gave birth to me and a younger brother. Two dreamy, idealistic teenagers, who fell in love, got married and thought they knew the world. Thought they would be the difference. They were wrong. We never had a hope of surviving as a family. All of us had been lost at conception.

~Late Fall.1963~

Her scream pierced the air. Sharp in disbelief. I watched as the steaming iron fell to the floor. She stumbled, one hand clutching her belly, the other reaching out. Dazed, she sank into the chair and stared in growing horror at the flashing images on the TV screen. Three shots. One to the head. JFK was dead. It was November 22, 1963. I was two and a half years old.

My first memory.

Profound in both my mind and in history.

Not the most auspicious beginning for my recall, but there it is.

~Early Spring.1964 ~

We lived in a small, two bedroom upper flat and slept on bare gingham mattresses. I remember tracing the blue and white stripes. Pulling at the hard tufted buttons that dug into my skin. All to no avail. They had become an uncomfortable, unavoidable part of my sleep. My brother and I shared a bed. More than once I woke up soaked in urine. I didn’t mind that much. I loved my little man and protected him fiercely. Sometimes we’d wake in the night. Alone. Forgotten. The air quiet and sour. The dream of being the difference must have died after he and I were born.

It was on such a night that I woke to a strange silence. And a dampness under my hip. Jimmy had peed the bed again. He lay close and tucked into the curve of my back. I pushed him gently to the dry side and slid my feet to the cold wooden floor. Our room was located at the end of a long hallway, the bathroom directly to the left. I walked in sleepily, blindly, the routine instilled, and pulled the long chain hanging from the bare light-bulb in the ceiling. Green walls. Light, but unattractive. Tub and sink white, clean and unadorned. The harsh light was not friendly. I closed my eyes as I sat, aware again of the strange silence. I’m not sure why it felt strange. I don’t recall my home being filled with sounds. Happy or otherwise. But that night, something was different. Off. I just knew. I must have. The proof is in the clarity of memory.

I flushed, washed my hands and pulled the chain. Darkness loomed but got brighter as I moved slowly, almost cautiously, down the hallway. The living room was lit. Appeared lived in. Half empty glasses and dirty ashtrays littered the coffee table. Cushions askew on the couch. A pale blanket on the chair. Toys stuffed in the corner. A children’s book on the floor. But the room was empty of life. I was left with the impression of ghosts having recently passed through. Confused, but not alarmed, I continued to peer around corners and walls, but no-one else was in the apartment. My brother and I were alone. I remember seeing what looked like a large basket on the dining room table behind the couch. Decorated with ribbons. A celebration of some sort, it seemed. And yet, there were no guests in attendance. My parents were nowhere to be found.

I walked to the front door. It was unlocked. I opened it and made my way down the dimly lit stairwell to another door, and then the street. I remember sitting on the wet curb in a pajama top and underwear. It must have just rained. My toes played in the muddy, leaf filled water as it rushed curbside down the slope of the darkened street. Most of the houses around me were lit up. Families. Laughing. Loving. Together. Even then I understood that things were different in my home. I watched the shimmering sparkle of street lamps reflected on the slick black pavement. Then looked up at the night sky. Twinkling with magic. I think that’s when first fell in love with starlight.

My parents never returned that night. Or the day after. Or the day after that. We were left in the care of my mother’s cousin, Grace. At 19 she had come to live with us temporarily. Swollen in belly. Unhappy. Trapped in a marriage of convenience. Seems the ribboned bassinette had been gifted to her by my parents after the birth her baby. But the celebration had ended abruptly in a jealous teenage rage. A misunderstood affection. My father’s for Grace. My hot tempered mother had stormed out of the apartment. My father had chased after her. Grace had followed but was unable to reason with either. She came back. My parents didn’t. She found me on the curb. Brought me back inside. And stayed with us. A full week passed in silence. Stretched beyond the competency of children raising children, and with deepest regret I am told, Grace had no recourse but to call in the Children’s Aid Society.

So, as was characteristic of the 60’s mandate of those patron “saints” of abandoned children, the CAS swooped in with their eagle like talons. Carried us away to a darker and even more terrifying version of Never-Never-Land. Mr Hook was a Mrs. And brutally sadistic. Peter Pan and his band of Lost Boys were horrible bullies. And Tinker Bell was a social worker dressed in a long, white trench coat. But, instead of fairy dust, she carried a magical black briefcase filled with potential people and places we might call home again.

Eventually the briefcase emptied.

So did our hope.

Jimmy was a year and a half. I was almost 3.

And to this day, I don’t think either of us has really ever truly returned.


 

Mom and Dad...16 and 17 years old.

Patricia Anne (16) and James Charles Wilkinson (17)

~ RIP ~

(Me in the belly.)

*

So it begins…

I’ve overcome my technical difficulties. I’m managing to fight off a cold, fingers crossed. And my mood has stayed stable for an entire week without meds! This is GOOD news lol! And most importantly, the post that won me my Freshly Pressed award has been found! I thought it lost after I deleted my blog, (the first time), BUT I had the foresight to print it and am soooo glad to have it back! It felt like an important part of me had gone missing when I was unable to find it, and I’m not sure I could have happily begun this intense venture without it. So, yay and thank you Universe!

This piece below was written during a serious purging after my mother had gone missing for a day and my sister called me, very concerned. I was soon thereafter awarded the dubious post of becoming my Mother’s next of kin emergency contact. The reason for this was solely due to proximity, and not familial bonding. As only hinted at here, there was at the beginning and still is, no genuine loving or intimate connection between my adoptive mother and I. It’s not that she was cruel or unkind. She was simply…unaffected. Unaffected and emotionally distant. As a child, I wanted nothing more then to please her. As an adult, I feel like nothing more then a disappointment.

Ya…there will be a lot more of that later.

However.

It was 24 hours after my Mother had been found in her semi-assisted seniors living space, lying on the floor with a fractured hip and then hospitalized, that I tracked her down. Unready to be reinserted into the fold of family after a long absence, and definitely unprepared to deal with the host of ugly feelings that reintroduced themselves due to the forced proximity, I began a 10 day writing spree to try and cope with the wealth of conflicting, often time guilt-ridden, emotions that surged.

Mother.

Not quite the dream I had imagined.

Like I said.

Not cruel. Not unkind. But a scar rendering indifference just the same.

I most definitely have a love-hate-confused set of triggers when it comes to my Mothers.

Yup. I had two of ’em.

Biological was truly, deeply a messed up version of Mommy Dearest. You’ll meet her soon enough.

Non-biological? Cold and indifferent. But she was and still is, the Mommy Nearest.

Hence the title of the post.

So, without further ado…

The prologue to my Auto-Bio Me and the beginning of my Release.

************************************************************************

Mommy Nearest – Day 8 Ago

Back in the days of “free love”, Martin Luther King and JFK, when everyone was fighting for civil rights and the abolishment of racism, prejudice and war, there was an equally innocent and alarmingly growing population of people who were left undefended. Invisible for all intents and purposes. Uncared for, unwanted and unloved. Without a voice and without rights, they were born into this world not by choice, but by the careless whisper of seduction and the accidental meeting of ova and seed.

Orphans. The Forgotten Children.

I know. Because I am one.

We were housed in homes that neglected us, abused us and only took us in for the government cheque issued once a month for our care. And if no home could be found for us, we were placed in government run, impersonal, dehumanizing, inhumane orphanages. I have experienced both and the memories are not kind.

The 60’s were not enlightened, protective times for abandoned children. Like a strange breed of cattle, we were cloistered, tagged, and herded behind dark and angry walls. Dressed in ill fitting clothes, fed three squares of slop a day, and left to sleep on questionably clean, threadbare cots made of metal coils and cold steel frames. Crushed side by side in neat little rows, we led anything but neat little lives.

I think the worst days for me were the ‘begging’ days. The days when a comb was run through our hair; our shirts, pants and skirts straightened; spittle and thumbs used to wipe that smudge of dirt off our cheeks, and then forced to smile as we were put on display. Paraded in front of any and all prospective ‘parents’ who, with a cursory glance, had the power to own us or leave us to our fate; their biological brats sitting pretty and clean and pious, eyeing us and despising us for even thinking we had a right to their life.

On one such occasion, my new family was in attendance. A tall, dark haired man with kind, laughing eyes would soon become my ‘dad’. A small, quiet boy, 3 years younger than I, with a shock of blonde hair and big blue eyes, would soon become my ‘obnoxious little brother’. A plain looking girl, 3 years older than I, with curly brown hair and sly green eyes, would soon become my ‘sister’. I sensed she was going to be trouble. I was right. And the woman I was soon to call ‘mother’, seemed to look right through me. Strange that I have no clearer memory of her in that moment. It’s just sort of…blank.

They had come to take me out for the day and the staff had warned me to be on my “best behavior”. This could lead to me being chosen if I “played my cards right”. They told me to smile. More. I tried. But my face felt stiff and my heart rock heavy. I had been through this all before. Many times.

I smiled anyhow. Big and bright and wide. It never touched my eyes. Once brown and sweet and trusting, they had turned black and cold and angry. I tried not to look bitter.

I always had a hard time smiling on ‘begging’ days. On any day for that matter. I think my smile disappeared just around the time I discovered it. There hadn’t been time to fill the proverbial halls with my innocent laughter. No time to revel in the joys of becoming a carefree child. By the time I was 5 years old, I understood what it felt like to whore myself, and my child withered up and died. ~