Over the last year my social media presence has waned. Life and all its life-ness produced some bends in the road. And in maneuvering those bends, I’ve retreated inward. I’ve lost outward touch with people I hold fiercely in my heart. But, for the first time since leaping into the wide world of social media in 2011, I deactivated one of my accounts, ignored the others, and turned my phone off for almost two weeks- ignoring calls, texts, and messages. It wasn’t an experiment in unplugging; it was a last-ditch effort to control a situation that spun wildly out of control on December 24th. I’m near-positive writing this will not go over well with some of those involved. At this point I care, but will no longer feel shame for needing to purge my own thoughts and inner dealings in an attempt to regain what I inwardly lost.
I haven’t hid my battles with depression, cutting, and suicide. Overall, I’m the best I’ve ever been, but I still struggle sometimes- especially in high, negative stress situations. I thrive in positive stress, it’s exhausting, but those times are when life is at it’s most exhilarating. Anyway, December 24, 2014 was definitely negative stress situation and it sent me reeling and into seclusion.
Against my better judgement (short story, but not relevant) I agreed to go to my parents’ house after work to see the family. From the moment I walked in the door I was bombarded by people handing me things, asking questions, demanding something, telling me to eat, go, sit, shoes off, hug gramma. My 23 year old brother told me he wanted me to drink with him. Let me stop here, my family KNOWS I do not drink. I haven’t for over 7 years. I used to have a drug and alcohol problem and worked hard to maintain my sobriety over the years. Again, my family knows this. So when my brother insisted I drink with him, I declined and made my way to the kitchen to grab some food and finish assembling the dessert I brought.
While alternating between the stove and center island, my brother tried to hand me a glass of some kind of alcohol. I again told him no. He insisted. I stood my ground. He stepped closer. I stepped back. He tried to shove the glass into my hand. I kept saying no and he kept insisting I drink. Both our voices raised. He tried to put the glass to my mouth. I backed up as far as I could. We began yelling. He started cussing. My parents rushed in trying to break things up. My brother stormed outside, cussing up a storm and calling me several names- all of which I do not say. At some point I was told I shouldn’t have provoked my brother. I was told several times by him to “just let it go” after he came back inside. One of the gems- what we call “C U Next Tuesday” (I’ll let you suss out what that stands for)- my brother hurled at me several times, texted it, and used it in tagging me on a threatening photo on Facebook (I have screenshots of everything).
If only that were the worst of it. In the fray some family left (I don’t blame them, I wanted to leave, too). My parents’ were leaving to go to church when my dad noticed my car covered in mud. It was dark and that was the only “damage” anyone could see. I left a short time later. As I drove home, I noticed something wrong with my windshield- it was scratched all over. My brother had excessively keyed half my windshield. Anger and hurt consumed me. I was shaking and past the point of crying. I wanted to cut. I wanted to drink. I wanted to take pills. I wanted to do all of it just to not feel or think. To not remember my brother thought so little of me. To not think about how violated I felt. I prayed and screamed the entire drive home. At home I crawled into bed and turned everything off. The next day I had to run an errand. That’s when I saw my car in the light. The passenger side door was keyed up with a deep scratch running down to the tail light. As I looked over the damage I saw what was carved into my door: Satan. I felt violated all over again. My faith and relationship with God is the most important thing in life. My brother knows this. We’ve had some great spiritual conversations in the past. That he would use this to deface my car… I have no sufficient words. Later, at church, a friend pointed out (and please forgive me for writing this) “FUCK” was also scratched into my door. I park at the far end of the church parking lot to keep people from seeing the damage.
My brother has not apologized. Other than messaging me one day on Facebook to tell me not to press charges, he’ll talk to me when he’s ready, and he’ll pay for the damages (a placation to keep me from pressing charges) he hasn’t spoken to me. It was an uphill battle to get my family to see this situation through my eyes. I was told he was drunk and I should have known he was even though the entire house had been with him for hours and no one else knew he had been drinking that much. I was told I should have taken the glass, then maybe he wouldn’t have vandalized my car and said all those things. I was told to remember I was once that age and did things I shouldn’t have. I was told to remember I was the Christian and he wasn’t. I was told I was older and should forgive him. I was told maybe I should just take this as a lesson learned.
I spent two weeks grasping at every shred of control within myself in order to keep going. I spent that time praying and begging God for the strength not to go back to old comforts. I questioned what I did and said. I tried to not feel guilty for smiling when something made me happy. I tried to reach out to friends, but my hands wouldn’t comply to text or call. Every inch of me was focused on appearing normal when I had to leave the house. I’m still exhausted. I don’t want to leave my bed; I have to because I have to work and pay bills. I don’t want to go out and see people and pretend, but I have to keep living. It’s hard to describe why this ordeal affects me this way. I know every day I walk out my front door to see my car in all its vulgar un-glory and cringe. I drive and see through a scratched up windshield. And I am reminded every day my brother deemed me not drinking as a crime punishable by profanity and vandalism and he’s unremorseful.