We Are Not Monsters

La llorona by  RadiusZero

La llorona by RadiusZero

Trigger Warning: Kinky Age play, fantasy incest, fantasy rape, sadomasochism, filicide (the murder of children) and homicidal ideation discussed in this piece. Comments are encouraged but this is a deeply personal piece of sharing for me.  Please be nice.

I love my kinks but I sure don’t want to know where they came from. Can’t we just enjoy them and leave them unexamined? Why must we pick everything apart? Disturbing wank material. Fucked up thoughts. The images that splashed across the $.25 theatre screen of my mind .5 seconds before I came because I kept them squashed, buried; sure that I was a monster.

I’d been in therapy for three year and  still I didn’t tell my doctor about my fantasy’s. It wasn’t  until I picked up a Pat Califia book of smut and read a Mommy/boy fantasy story that everything shifted and made sense: I wasn’t some horrible monster! I was a sadomasochist with an age play fetish!

 I like FANTASY incest. FANTASY rape. FANTASY abuse of power. The FANTASY of the corruption of innocence. 

Last month the sweet little eighteen year old anarcha-feminist  who plays my eight year old daughter declared “I love it when you choke me with your cunt, Mommy!”  She knelt on the floor to make herself smaller for me and beamed when  I smiled at her, stroked her face, then spit in her eyes and slapped her hard,  causing her big mouth to tremble as alligator tears flowed from her oversized eyes and mascara streaked her delicate cheekbones. I took a handful of her pink puffy cotton candy mohawk and pulled her large lips to my mouth and bit them. I can’t wait to get back to her, with her I can forget everything that is painful.

I finally got my mom to the hospital. She’d told me two night’s earlier, that if she didn’t get any better that I should take her to Saint Christopher’s. She’s been hospitalized there twice. She likes it there. She feels safe. It is her favorite psych ward. So, I brought her to Saint Christopher’s. We sat in the waiting room and I filled out the paper work, excavating old traumas like rotten teeth.

98, 97, 87, 92. What’d she do in ’92? Oh. That’s when she thought Antonia was being raped and murdered every night of the summer.

What’d she do in 87? Oh… That was one of the times we found her wandering around the streets with no clothes on.

And What about 85? I don’t remember eighty-five. I was only four. My sister eleven. I remember a little bit. I remember her being naked under a white sheet at Wheeler Hospital in Gilroy.

My mom has done an excellent job of convincing the intake nurse conducting her evaluation that she was perfectly healthy. She presents well, so do I, sometimes it keeps me from getting the help I need. I think I get it from her. It is a survival skill. You observe and identify healthy and then emulate that. She says that their daughters are exaggerating the extent of her illness. And finally agitated by my recounting the psychic conversations she blurts out “The voices haven’t told me to do anything bad. They haven’t told me to hurt anyone.”

“Oh. Is that right? ” says the nurse raising his eyebrows. I can’t help but stare at his sweater vest. It’s pastel with little three dimensional flowers crocheted onto it. It looks like something a four year old girl would wear around easter time.

“Yes, that’s right” says my mother confidently.

“Not like, when she was little.” she says gesturing toward me. “When this one, my youngest, was little. When they told me to do bad things. To hurt her.”

“Like what?” said the nurse casually although I could see the concern in his eyes.

“Well. They told me to kill her. They wanted me to kill my baby.” She said.

I’d never heard such a thing. My mind flipped over and over. I imagined a world in which I was nothing but a grainy black and white newspaper clipping, a smiling picture of myself, all pigtails, knock-knees and that crooked smile, a tragic headline in a world where everyone believed my mother to be a monster.

“Four Year Old Slain By Psychotic Mother.” I imagined a world I had only touched for four short years, where I had missed the opportunity to be alive and suddenly I felt compassion for all those mothers who had killed their young children; suddenly they were all my mother.

I can’t help but think of my mother has La Llarona, wailing by the river, after having drown her children.

“Well, obviously I didn’t do it! I left. I wasn’t going to let them convince me to kill my own baby! They were wrong that time and I knew they were wrong! But I was worried they might win. That they might convince me to do it. So I left. I left her alone and I kept my daughter safe.” Her eyes were wide and wet and she reached across the stained grey upholstered chairs to hold my hand.

“And when was the last time that you heard a voice, Jauna?” says the nurse.

“Oh, I suppose it was on our way over here. In the car. About an hour ago.”  she says nonchalantly.

“I see.” the charge nurse excused himself and disappears for a few minutes. “I think we are going to have you visit with our staff psychiatrist.” The fey nurse hands me a pink slip of paper with a phone number on it.

“You can call here to check on your mother’s… status.” he informs me. I take the piece of paper and fold it up in fours.

Open my brand new white Chanel purse and slip it inside. I don’t know what to make of all this.

I imagine a very different story; a story in which my mother couldn’t resist the voices. I imagine that a story in which my poor tormented mother drowns me in the bath tub or makes me drink two bottles of baby Tylenol. I don’t know how the voices could tell her to kill me. I imagined how devastated my father would be. How devastated my family would have been. It would have been more shameful, more painful than the big wide tear, the wild rippling trauma that uncle Tito’s suicide ripped in la famila.

I grew up with the ghost of Uncle Tito, he was my imaginary friend and playmate, and I was a tiny witness to the decades of trauma that Tito’s suicide created, a festering wound that  kept me, on more than one occasion, from killing myself.

I know my mother loves me with all of her heart. I know that she would do anything to protect me. I know that she thinks she is protecting me. I know that my poor mother is tortured by real demons, ghosts, spirits and voices that haunt and play tricks on her. Sometimes the voices imitate me. Sometimes it’s benign like when she hears my voice call to tell her that I am taking the whole family out to Chinese food or that I am bringing her a chicken salad sandwich for lunch.

Other times the voices tell her that she should kill her four year old daughter, but she reminds me, she didn’t listen; she fought them and she protected me.

I drop my sister off at work and find a nearby restaurant to eat lunch. When I return to the hospital all the roads are closed and there are police everywhere. I manage to find a back way to the psych ward emergency entrance but when I buzz them  the voice on the other side of the intercom tells me that the there has been a shooting and that the hospital is on lock down; nobody comes in or out.

I stood behind a rosebush, worried that the police would accidentally shoot me. I called  the number on the slip of paper and the voice on the other end  of the telephone told me I should go home and get some sleep. My mother isn’t going anywhere any time soon and that they’d call me before they transfered her to a locked facility.

I called my ex-husband and he agreed to meet for macaroni and cheese and beers.

“It’s so strange” I tell him. “I keep saying this thing to myself, this thing that I hear women say, women who were teenage mothers and then have the opportunity to do it over again later in life.”

“Oh, yeah, what is it?” He asks, his eyes wide.

“Well, I keep feeling like I’m thankful, so thankful that I can take better care of my mother than I could for my father. I’m a better advocate. I have the emotional, intellectual and financial means to care for her. I have better resources. I wish I could have done that for my dad too but I was just a girl. I was only twenty-three when he died.”

“Wow.” he says. “That’s pretty heavy.”

“Yeah. I know. It all is.”

We sit in silence at the hipster diner. Something unsaid hangs in the air.

“Maybe that’s why I don’t want to have kids.” I say tentatively.

“Because I feel like I’ve already had to raise my parents.”

“Yeah.” he says, eyes wet with tears. “You raised yourself and then you raised your parents.” but that’s not entirely true; my brother and sister helped a lot.

It’s only been a year since we’ve been separated and this is the first hard thing I’ve had to deal with on my own. He touches my shoulder and I want nothing more than to crawl into his lap. Instead we gather up our coats and our keys and I drive him to my in-laws condo on the water and drive home wishing that the whole world could shift two degree’s north and that we could be happy together and that I didn’t have to do this alone.

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