The #BeReal guest today is Rose B Fischer. Thank you Rose!
My father kicked me. Not often but often enough that my heart still hammers if I hear a man’s footsteps close behind me in the hallway.
My mother called me disgusting and berated me because my father “couldn’t stand me.” She accused me of trying to break up her marriage. I was 7. I didn’t even know it was possible to break up of marriage until she said it.
My younger brother was allowed to hit, punch, and kick my breasts because “he was just a little boy” and “if I wanted to play with boys, I had to take the hits.”
I was sexually assaulted by 3 different men between the ages of 8 and 13. It only stopped when I reported it to the police, but no one never went to trial. The police officer in charge of the case told me he didn’t believe me.
I got married at 19. My husband coerced me to have sex, refused to let me out of his sight, threatened suicide if I was gone for more than 15 minutes, and finally attacked me. Then he told a judge that I had abused him. He twisted me all up so that, twenty years later, I’m still untangling my real self from that damage.
I’m bisexual. I’ve spent my entire life hearing gay and straight people tell me to “make up my mind,” that “I am not welcome to speak about LGBT issues because I’m trying to pass.”
I live with several health problems, including chronic migraines and have a lot of food/dietary restrictions. Most non-meat sources of protein are off limits to me. I’m iron deficient and can’t eat supplements. Red meat is a staple food. Every week or so, I meet a welfare shaming asshole who’s pissed off that I, a person with a disability, can afford to buy better cuts of beef than they can. Those cuts need to last me a long time. I can’t afford them. I just NEED them.
I use a wheelchair. I’ve been living in an apartment without an accessible stove or bathtub for 4 years. My landlord recently threatened to charge me for repairs on the toilet because their plumbing wasn’t working. I can’t move because I rely on subsidized housing, and there are no better places to go in my city.
Last month, I had to turn down a paying job because if I took it I would lose my rental subsidy but not be able to afford the rent on my apartment.
Friends tell me they “have no idea how I live my life.” They “can’t imagine going through all that.” They tell me I’m “brave.” I smile and thank them.
Intellectually, I know I must be brave. I’ve lived in terror my whole life and found a way to function. That requires bravery in large doses. But I don’t feel brave.
I feel rage. I feel helpless. I want to scream every day.
Because I see so many people trapped in situations like mine, eating the toxic bullshit their abusers ram down their throats.
I see people who believe they “deserve” the lives they’re living. People who can’t get out from under because the factors keeping them there are so complex that one tug on the wrong piece will send their whole pile of problems tumbling down on them.
I battle with survivor’s guilt.
My brother is a heroin addict. I got out. What makes me so different?
I don’t have an answer. And please spare me the inspirational “you should give yourself more credit” comments. I give myself plenty of credit. But I’m NOT different from the thousands of people still trapped in abuse, fighting the rising tide of poverty. That’s the point.
I’m lucky I got out alive, and I’m still fighting quicksand.
I’m launching a site for abuse survivors called hardcorehope.com it’s a place for people to tell their stories, network, and find resources they need to pull themselves out of the pit. I’m actively seeking contributors, and I have open space on Sundays for survivors to tell their stories.
Rose B. Fischer is an avid fan of foxes, Stargate: SG-1, and Star Trek. She would rather be on the Enterprise right now.
Since she can’t be a Starfleet Officer, she became a speculative fiction author whose stories feature women who defy cultural stereotypes.
In her fictional worlds, gender is often fluid, sexuality exists on a spectrum, and “disability” does not define an individual. She publishes science fiction, science fantasy, horror, and biographical essays.
Find her books on Amazon: Amazon