Saturday, May 25, 2019
Family LifeParenting

In My Darkest Hour

I’ve struggled for many months about this very topic. I don’t want pity. I don’t want loathing. I just want people to understand that I’ve been to hell and back. I’ve survived. I don’t expect people to reply to this with comments. I just ask that you read and listen.

My grandmother, sweet Noonie, passed away on December 17, 2008. I loved my grandmother very much. We had our differences occasionally, but I never doubted her love for me. I am very close to my grandfather and I feel so connected to him that sometimes I truly believe I can feel the ache in his heart at the loss of his beloved wife of 65 years. They spent 69 glorious years together (if you count dating) and he’s had to endure his first day, Christmas, and New Year without her for almost 70 years. I am just distraught for him, over this.

When I called my Grandfather, to check up on him, my mother, a person I don’t talk to if I can help it, grabbed the phone from one of my cousins. I’m not exactly sure I can remember all she said. I know it was something about me writing about and bad mouthing her on my blog. I know she said she planned to ruin my life by telling the world about the “real me” and I know she did it all in front of my grieving grandfather.

I did the only thing I could do. I ignored her. I didn’t say a word. This was about my grandmother, her death, and my grandfather’s grieving. All I could think about was his hurt and how rotten it was of anyone to do this to HIM. He’s suffering and hurting and that day I hurt badly for him, too. It was a rather selfish thing to do, and I refused to take part in it.

The longer I thought about it, the more irritated I became. First, I scoured dominickevans.com for ANY mention of my family. There was nothing! I saw one mention about how my family was dysfunctional growing up, but I didn’t mention anyone specifically or by name. So, what the heck was she talking about? I checked my Myspace and Facebook, too. Again, no mention.

I don’t talk to anyone that I know she talks to, except my niece and cousins. Sadly, I’d been out of touch with them for quite a few months (except for an occasional hi), so I couldn’t come up with any RECENT mention of my family, at all. By choice, I choose to mention my mother, as little as possible. Still, I was just very confused about what “talking/badmouthing” was going on on my blog.

Second, why go as far as to say you’re going to ruin my life? Seriously! Is this second grade? I’m 28 years old, which makes my mother, 63. Doesn’t she have better things to do with her time then try to ruin my life? I felt like I was on the school playground and I could almost hear the neener neener neener sneer.

I don’t want to talk or badmouth anyone, but I do want to share my life and I want the truth about my past to be known. That is part of why I have a blog. I want to give hope to others, by sharing my life with them and letting them see they aren’t alone. I wasn’t going to mention the incident I listed above, but that has made me realize that perhaps I should be talking about these things, so people can understand my life, the way I see it.

This brings me to my darkest hour. I’ve been dreaming about writing down all of the things I’ve experienced. My dad died in 2001, but he often comes to me in my dreams. He comes to me and tells me I need to share my story. I need to share the truth. I need to tell what I’ve been through, so others, in similar situations, know they’re not alone. I’ve tried to ignore the messages, the calling, and my father’s voice, but I can’t any longer. He just won’t leave me alone!

I should probably mention the things that might “ruin me”. I was an evil child in some ways. I could be mean. I was an awful tease who picked on my brother. I was selfish, but sometimes I needed to be. I could yell and scream with the best of them. I invented insults when people pissed me off, one of my favorites being (when I was little) “you’re ugly and so are your clothes.” I wasn’t always the nicest person, but I’m happy to report I’ve grown out of that.

I don’t want to get into all the particulars, but I have a diary that was written when I was born and when I was little. It stopped being written in around the time I was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I hope to one day share some of the unusual things said in this diary, because they are quite telling.

I don’t think she (I have trouble referring to her as my mother — because I can’t fathom any mother doing to a child what she did to me) had children to have them. I believe she had children to be loved. She felt a void in her life, and she thought having kids would fill that void with love. Well, when I wasn’t born a lovebug, cuddly, friendly little thing, I feel like I was looked down upon unfavorably.

While I don’t remember being physically abused when I was young, there were instances of manipulation. It wasn’t until I was a teenager and I had come out that the real abuse began. I was living with my very own version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and I couldn’t seek help. I’d heard about what CPS had done to my friend in a wheelchair. My family knew I was too scared to call for help, and didn’t think what was going on was wrong, anyway.

In my darkest hour, I tried to slit my wrists. I wanted to die. I wanted the pain of living in such a harmful environment to go away. I was being fed depression pills because I was believed to be depressed, but all of them made me sick. In my darkest hour, I took a sharp metal watch edge, and whittled my wrists until they were raw. In my darkest hour, I didn’t feel a thing.

I was barely 19, during this time. I was stuck living in my parent’s home. I can’t recall why I was punished. Perhaps I was mouthy. Perhaps I was a jerk, but Dr. Jekyll told my brother to turn off my wheelchair in the back (so I couldn’t move or reach the button to turn my chair on) and wheel me into my bedroom to sit, alone. My brother pushed me in and then I couldn’t move. My wheelchair, once a source of such freedom became a jail cell to my body and I felt such terrible anguish. In my darkest hour, I grabbed the only thing I could reach; a metal watch and I whittled. I whittled and whittled and cried out for someone to end my misery and my pain.

Then Mr. Hyde came into my room, acting like nothing was wrong. Looking at my wrists, Hyde threatened to put me in the hospital, but my dad didn’t have insurance (which meant I didn’t have insurance), so it wasn’t all that important anyway. It wasn’t a real suicide attempt, so it wasn’t worth seeking help for, I guess. I ended up enrolling at Wright State, three hours away, shortly thereafter. That was truly the first step in saving my life. You know the funny thing? Once I finally got away, no medicine was needed. I’m no longer depressed!

To think this was an isolated incident is foolish. There were many more abusive things that I feel were done to me, but other people seem to think I deserved them. I was taken care of, in a wheelchair so why shouldn’t I be grateful? I don’t know if taken care of is the right word. I do know that I should be grateful for “sacrifices” made to care for me. I’m not sure if being abused is constituted as care you should be grateful for, but that’s my big dilemma.

There was something done so bad, I’m still embarrassed to talk aobut it. It’s the most traumatizing thing I’ve ever experienced and my girlfriend, Ashtyn, is the first person I’ve told about it. What I can share is all the slaps across the face I received. Dr. Jekyll would get mad if I was mouthy and I’d get flat palmed across the face. Angry, I’d go to bed and I would cry myself to sleep. Knowing my weakness for sleep and my ability to say anything people want to hear when asleep, this would be the time when Mr. Hyde would come out to beg forgiveness and not allow me to go back to sleep until said forgiveness was received.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m going “crazy,” because I’ve not spoken about this with very many people. I’ve blamed myself for this. I’ve thought I deserved this. I believed I had all of this coming to me. I’m no longer at this place where I believe it’s my fault, but this truly has helped to shape me as a person. I am who I am, and this has affected my life. There’s so much more I could say or share, about what I’ve endured, but this is getting pretty long, as it is.

So many people go all their lives with other telling them they’re not abused. Any unwanted touch or treatment IS abuse. I didn’t want Dr. Jekyll to lay her hands on me in the way she did. I didn’t ask for it. It affected me negatively and therefore it IS abuse. It’s abuse because I SAY it’s abuse. It was my body being violated by a slap or something worse, and I didn’t want any of it. That’s why I wanted to share this with all of you.

If you’re in a similar situation, you are not alone. There is hope. I got out and I’m in a wheelchair. I require the care and help of others, but I managed to find a way to get it without Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, or her iron fist.

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Dominick
Dominick is a director/filmmaker, activist, writer, advocate, FTM transman from the Midwest who lives in New York. Follow his film career and join his weekly Twitter chat on film and disability by following #FilmDis. He received his BFA in Film Production in 2014.