Saturday, December 17, 2011

In Response to Newt Gingrich and His Comment About Poor Kids Having No Work Ethic

I recently read a fellow blogger's post about Newt Gingrich's speech that included very ignorant and some might say racist comments, some of which included: poor kids "have no habit of showing up on Monday, no habit of staying all day, have no habit of 'I do this, and you give me cash' unless it's illegal." He also commented that kids coming from really poor families have no one around them that works.

Mr. Gingrich has no fucking idea what he's talking about.


First of all, I would very much like to know if what he says comes from experience. Firsthand experience. It's highly doubtful that he actually lived through poverty, and the reason I say this is because it takes a lot of old money to run for president. For some reason, I'm pretty sure he's been at least middle, if not upper class for his entire life.

Secondly, I would like Mr. Gingrich to know that I grew up in a low-income neighborhood. My parents were divorced when I was three, leaving my mother, who had graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Apparel, Merchandising and Textiles to fight for every job she ever had. She worked her fingers to the bone, metaphorically and physically, trying to provide for our family of two. There was even a time when she had three jobs at one time, working literally 80 hours in a week. Through the years, our little family has grown, and my family has gone from low-income to middle class. The family income runs somewhere around eighty thousand dollars a year.

Now, Mr. Gingrich, let's look at me: I graduated 11th in my class of 275 in high school, while taking the only three AP classes that my high school offered, a feat that only one other student tried. I maintained straight A's through high school, and passed all three of my AP exams, achieving a top score on one of them. I started working when I was 12 years old, because my mother taught me that if I ever wanted anything in life, I had to work for it. At 16, I took a trip to France that I raised the funds for. When I returned, I began working my first "real" job in retail sales, and I maintained that job while I was attending high school and earning top grades. After high school, I took up two more jobs to help me pay for my first year of college at a prestigious, private, liberal arts school. I attended this school by making the money myself, and on merit scholarships. I achieved a 3.2 GPA and graduated last May with my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. I spent the last year working for a non-profit organization that helps crime victims through the criminal justice system, while also working a full-time job to support myself and my unemployed fiance (who came from a mid- to upper class family). I think it goes without saying that I held down a job throughout my college years.

Now let's talk about kids from middle and upper class families, shall we? Many of the students that I went to school with in high school had never done a day of work in their lives. My town is built on the middle class, so over half the people I went to high school with fall into this category. Most of them have settled on staying in our hometown, going to a two year school, getting married and repopulating. Some have decided to go to four-year colleges, but their parents have paid all the bills. I have not seen ANYONE work as hard for what they want as people from low-income families.

Mr. Gingrich, if you want the popular vote, for God's sake, know your fucking audience. Because most of this country is outraged at the things you've said.

Thanks for being this year's Sarah Palin. Maybe when you lose, you'll leave politics completely and write a book about how hard it is to be upper class.

A girl from a poor family.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Letter to S.A.

For your information and deciphering purposes, M.R. is my stepsister, B.J.A. is my stepmother, B.A. is my half-sister, and C.A. is my half-brother, and T.L. is my stepfather. The only changes that have been made to this letter since it was sent have been the initializing of names to protect identities.

Dear S.A, January 11th, 2011

Firstly, I would like to address the lies that you sent in your most recent email to me, which I received January 10th, 2011. With regards to my address, you have a valid address for me. I am aware of this because earlier in December I received a Christmas card from you and B.J.A. to my school address. Not only that, but you have sent packages to me in the past to that address as well. You also contradicted yourself in your email, saying you didn’t have a phone number for me, then telling me you left a message on my voicemail, knowing that I do not have one. And about the last paragraph: That was very manipulative. I never agreed to send you a copy of my financial aid statement, but to appease you, I have enclosed it with this letter.

I have been meaning to write this letter for the past nine years, but I have never had the courage, strength, or motivation to do so. Throughout the years, I have been screwed over by you time and time again, most recently, the past four years with my tuition payments. Every year, you have dragged your feet with sending the payment, and you even fought me in court before I started college to try and not pay. Every year, you have been late in paying you part to my tuition, causing me stress and guilt-tripping me as well. The way I see it, you feel that by not paying, you cause my mother more financial stress. However, this is not the case. The only person you are harming by not paying is me. You have never treated me right as your daughter, and this is only the first in a long list of problems that I have with you.

I don’t agree with the way you treat B.A. and the kids, another reason I am writing this. While spanking your children with an object is not illegal in Washington (I would know, I tried to report you to DHS: Child Welfare, because I am a mandatory reporter), it is against my moral code, considering you never disciplined your kids before they were three or four. I disagree with this punishment because you have threatened me with the same punishment once, implying that you know how to not get caught by saying “Is isn’t abuse if I don’t leave marks.” For that incident, in eighth grade, where you threw my textbook and my soda, had we lived in Oregon, I could have filed a report and had you charged with Harassment and Menacing, mandatory arrest misdemeanors. As an abuser, you might say that this event didn’t happen but I remember it as clearly as yesterday, and you might say that it wasn’t your fault, that it was my fault because I made you angry by disrespecting you. However, the truth is that you are making excuses for a choice that you made. You could have accrued the same charges when you told M.R. that you would make her baseball bat as red as her sweatshirt.

I am upset that there were no consequences for your behavior that day, and I regret that I cannot prevent similar occurrences from happening with C.A. and B.A, and possibly even B.J.A. if nothing has happened to her yet.

I know you will continue to be and act the way you are, and this letter will upset you, but I can see that you haven’t changed any from the time that mom was with you to now. You once told Mom that if she left, she would leave with nothing but the clothes on her back. This is a symptom of domestic violence. You were using me against her, and I will never forgive you for that. Your pattern that you had with Mom continues with B.J.A. I see it in the way she reacts with you, and I see it in your own behavior. I can even see it in your kids, to a certain extent. Did you know that C.A.’s late development is a symptom of your abuse? And B.J.A.’s response to your question, “What are you doing?!” which had undertones of “Are you stupid?” in the restaurant when you came to see me at Willamette in my junior year confirmed this: “What do you want me to do?” I recognized that with a simple question, she was deflecting a blowup event, something that is part of the wheel of domestic violence. You were setting her up for emotional abuse out of something that was logical for her to do, and she could feel it, because in the 6 or 7 years that she has spent married to you, she has internalized your pattern of emotional abuse, and can therefore predict when it is coming. I would strongly advise her to leave, however, if she is determined to stay with you, she has devised a great mode of survival, a safe way to deal with you. While I do not support her decision to stay with you, I do support her coping methods, and I sincerely hope that someday, you do something drastic, like the baseball bat incident with M.R., so she has the courage to leave you. Your behavior within your family is unacceptable, which is why I am choosing to remove myself from it.

In the years that I lived there or was visiting, you would walk in on me and M.R. when you knew we were changing or in the bathroom in various stages of undress. You used us to do your chores, and things that you, as a parent were responsible for. You forced me to babysit, but gave me no authority. You forced me to show you my underwear when I was about thirteen, an age that I was fully capable of picking out my own undergarments. You were not a normal father, especially not when you had me sitting on your lap while you were sitting on the toilet.

I am constantly on edge, ready to defend myself against your attacks on my morality, I have when you come visit me or guilt trip me into visiting you, and I hate the time I spend at your house, especially when I cannot accomplish the things I came to do, like see my best friend’s grave. I hate you so much, and the hatred increases exponentially when you make fun of my fiancĂ©’s last name, heritage, and call him a “sand nigger.” The only reason you think I could do better is because you are racist.

I have known for years that you don’t love me, that you don’t even know the meaning of the word love. You know the meaning of manipulation, and think it’s synonymous with love. Sorry sir, that is not how it works. Throughout my life, you’ve used me as a tool for your manipulation of my mother, and you’ve played my conscience into feeling guilty for actions and choices I have a right to make. I am sick of the manipulation. I am sick of the emotional abuse, and while your wife may stand for it, I will not.

You kicked me out of your house the night you refused to take me to the hospital after I fell off the horse, neglecting your duties as a parent. I could have been seriously injured as a result of that accident, and B.J.A. could have lost her nurse’s license by giving me your prescription of Vicodin like she did, and you could have been charged with Child Neglect for not taking care of my injuries properly. I could have been seriously injured for all you knew, and you didn’t want to get me checked out. Sounds REALLY loving to me.

I know that you will continue to place the blame on others, the way you blamed mom for your problems (like, you think B.J.A. has no common sense, and that makes you angry, or the house wasn’t clean, so you have a right to be angry (PS: these are not excuses for the abuse you put her through, even though they might seem like valid excuses to you)) as well as do the other things typical to abusers, and I know that I cannot change you, and I cannot show you you’re wrongdoing when your eyes remain so firmly shut. But I can hope that laws will change for B.J.A, C.A, and B.A.’s sake.

My point: You kicked me out that night, saying you didn’t want me to be there if I didn’t want to be. Well, I didn’t then, and I still don’t. I don’t enjoy visiting you, I don’t enjoy staying at your house, I don’t enjoy when you visit me. You have destroyed our relationship through the years, and that is something that I pity you for, because maybe if you had known, I wouldn’t be writing this, because you might have stopped. For years, I have been sick of going home to my mom, crying because of the latest asinine thing you’ve done. However, as a result of the destruction of our relationship, I am choosing to remove the drama that you create by removing you from my life and discontinuing all correspondence with you. I understand that in so doing, you will spread lies about me to our family, like Grandma and Grandpa, and all my aunts and uncles. I also understand that this is part of your abusive nature, and that you will try and contact me. This is the last letter I will ever send you. I will not be sending another email. I will not be visiting your house any more, nor are you welcome at mine. With this letter, I have enclosed two money orders; the first is to pay my debt of $57.88 to AT&T, and the second is for $140.00 your last means of control over me, and I am requesting that you never contact me again. I will be changing my phone number and address. If you try to find me in the future, please expect this action on your part to result in a restraining or no-contact order. I am doing this as a result of your actions. You may be my father, the person who donated the sperm. We may look alike and have the same last name. You may consider yourself the father of three. However, you lost the privilege of being my dad long ago, and will soon legally lose the privilege of being my father, because T.L. and I are signing adoption papers later this year.

Have a nice life.

Let me also explain some of the psychosexual effects that his abuse had on me and my siblings. C.A. is my younger brother (half). I was thirteen when he was born, and he developed in a similar manner to me. He had problems with development and bedwetting like I did. I began masturbating when I was in the 6th grade, but I was putting things inside me by first grade at the latest. I wet the bed consistently until 6th grade, and then on and off throughout high school. I had accidents when I was out playing with friends. All of these things are very clear signs of sexual abuse. In fact, my mother was concerned for the longest time that one of my uncles was abusing me. She took me to several therapists, waiting for me to disclose, but I never did, because the things my father did to me seemed normal at the time. He would watch me as I slept, he would walk in on my step-sister M.R. and I when we were undressed, or getting dressed, or even when we were in the shower, and for each instance, he made an excuse for the things he did. He forced me to show him my underwear the first time I bought thongs when I was thirteen. He had threatened me, he had threatened my step-sister, and my stepmother, B.J.A. didn't believe us when we told her, or she minimized the severity of the situation, because my father managed to talk her over to his side. He constantly disciplines using an implement of some sort. The list goes on and on.

Update on the Stalking

So, my mother and I were talking in the car the other day, while we were carpooling to work, and she was saying the answer to where S.A. was getting all of his information hit her like a ton of bricks one evening.
Let me introduce you to J.C... J.C. married my grandmother C.H. when I was a senior (?) in high school. None of my family members knew much about him when they got married, so we were all okay with it. All we really knew is that all his children were assholes, but he seemed pretty decent. Since the wedding, J.C. has revealed his inner asshole. He yells at my grandma in public, talks to her like she is stupid, underestimates how advanced her Alzheimer's disease is, and doesn't really seem to give a shit about C.H. in general.
To give you an example, J.C. accompanied my grandmother to my graduation from college last May, and apparently, he fell asleep during the ceremony, whined the whole time, and then wanted to leave without me "because he was cold." What. A. Fucking. Jerk. During my graduation dinner, the subject of S.A. arose. J.C. sympathized with S.A. for God knows what reason. Said we (my mom and I) were too hard on him. Most of the rest of my family knows that there is some bad blood there, though all of them underestimate how much. At my grandmother's wedding, my uncle D.H. had a beer with him in a bar. S.A. has tried to get information from my uncle M.H. and his wife, D.H., and every other relative that lives on his side of the state. Most of them, for the majority of the time, have said they don't know anything, or have refused to give him any information regarding my mother and I. However, he is getting his information somewhere.
Mom thinks it's J.C.
J.C. sympathizes with S.A.
J.C. is very similar to S.A.
J.C. is a giant slimeball.
Is more motive needed? Mom tells Grandma stuff about me, J.C. delivers that information to S.A.
This is what I was talking about when I was saying that I feel so alienated from my family. Now, because he's prying, and sucking all of my family into his little game, I have to refrain from telling my family members all of my news, my contact information, everything, if I don't want S.A. to get ahold of it. And it's all a way to suck me back in.

I promised a couple posts ago that I would post a letter of what I wrote to him, and you can judge for yourself what kind of person he was, whether or not I had the right to excommunicate him, ect.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Safe Haven

The boys are both out of town, Dad at work, AAS at his parents in California, so my mom and I got to spend some quality time together tonight. I expressed my concern that I am controlling and abusive like my SA, and she said she can't see it. I guess I've been successful in my vigilance in being aware of my thoughts and controlling my actions. We ended up talking about how he is finding my information. I went through facebook and blocked anyone that he might have contact with on MR's friends list. I'm hoping that this might solve the problem. I suspect that he is getting a hold of my texts, as I have already discussed. I told Mom that I felt like he was still alienating me from my family, even though I was no longer involved with him. She said that's his little game that he plays. The game that he plays to get you sucked back into his fight. And he's sucked in my aunt. Anyway, she said, "How do you think I feel?" She then explained that it feels like an invasion after having the house free of anything having to do with him for the past four years, and now all of a sudden she's hearing all about him, and everything has gone back to the way it was after she had divorced him. She said to "leave it at the front door. Don't talk about him, don't think about him, don't worry about him."
This is a safe place. It will always be a safe place. He cant touch me here.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Life Back With My Parents

Quick update on the S.A. front: my father (S.A.) has gotten to my aunt. What I mean by this is that he has convinced her that "he still cares," and she has been trying to convince me and my mother to send him a wedding invitation. The answer is flat out, NO. Especially because he seems to be cyber-stalking me. He told her that he was getting all of his information from the internet, which is funny, because I told no one over the internet that I was moving. What I think might be happening is that he is using my phone somehow, and getting access to my texts. I feel like no part of my life is being unobserved, like I'm on a reality TV show with some kind of horrible ending. I don't know what he's going to do, or where he's going to strike next.
On a happier note, I ran into Mr. D., my high school AP English teacher, the other day. My check engine light went on in my car because there is something wrong with it, so I took it to a mechanic, and they did some work without telling me what they were going to do and how much it was going to cost. So I was there, picking up my car, and Mr. D. was waiting in line behind me. Now the thing with Mr. D. is that he has his favorite students, and then he has the rest of the people in his class. When I took my AP exam, I got a 3, whereas the favorite students got 5's. I was never a favorite, and I was only in the class because I wanted to get into a top school, and rise above the rest of the SW high schoolers who really didn't care about school. Apparently, Mr. D. grouped me with the rest of the school anyway. This is what he thought of me, via a letter of recommendation:

"Dear Scholarship Committee:
"J.A. was my lovely surprise this year. I was her teacher three years ago in Regular (non-Honors) English 9, and after seeing her work I told her I was disappointed that she had not opted for our brand new Honors program (P.S. this is not true, but I did sign up for Honors courses starting in my sophomore year.) When she told me last year that she was considering taking my Advanced Placement English class in her senior year, I expressed grave doubts; I was worried she just did not have the background. Nonetheless, she persevered. She currently has an 'A' in the class, manages to surprise me at every turn with the quality of her work, and is one of the hardest working, intellectually passionate students in the class. I have to make it clear how rare that is. Usually (and this is a little sad, I suppose) a student begins high school right squack on the same track on which they end high school. J.A., on the other hand, has made such a huge step up from freshman year that I still cannot quite believe it at times.

"My only worry about J.A. is that her hard-working but quiet and unassuming nature might cause her to be overlooked in the whole scholarship process. She, however, does not seem to be worried at all. Her college attendance and college success are not contingent upon money nearly as much as they are contingent upon her passion and ambition. But still..... right? Please consider her as amongst the top candidates at the school for this scholarship.

"Now she is almost giddily excited about the college application process, applying even to several colleges which are beyond the hopes of a student with her background and test scores. She is aware of the challenge, but so in love with the idea of furthering her eduacation at the best school possible that she doesn not care. All three of her AP teachers (we only offer three AP classes!) are thrilled by her passion and her hard work, and we all share the hope that she will end up at a university which deserves her joyousness in living and learning. Thank you for considering this fine young student. Please email me or call if you have any questions.


Anyway, Mr. D. convinced all of us that top schools were good, that they held a lot of potential about helping you get jobs after school, and that student loans were okay, and everyone has them. I was convinced. So I applied to the best schools I could, and was accepted at all except one. NYU, Boston University, Willamette University, CWU, all of these schools accepted me, and Mr. D. was shocked, especially by NYU. Luckily, one of the private schools gave me a great financial aid package, and I was able to attend. Fast-forward four years, to me, graduated, but living with my parents, working as a Sales Associate at my high school job, just waiting for a promotion, and $30k in debt. I'm so glad I took Mr. D's advice about student loans.
Anyway, we ran into him at the mechanic, and he was very surprised to see me home, and not out on some epic adventure. I told him I graduated, and that he was actually at my graduation, which he didn't seem to know, even though I had been standing right beside him for about a half an hour, waiting for my turn to say hello, all the while, A.A.S., standing behind me, urging me to just do it. Let's just say I felt very justified rubbing it in that he overlooked me because of his favorites, and that I graduated, despite what he thought of me, and that I am planning on attending grad school next year, my top choice being UW, where they waive your tuition, my second choice being SPU. My mother couldn't stop at that, being the proud mother that she is. I was headed out the door, and Mom stood there, still talking; "Oh yeah, she graduated with a degree in psychology, and she has been volunteering with Marion County Victims' Assistance in the District Attorney's Office, and she's been doing really well, and, and, and," and I finally had to pull her out the door. As we were leaving, Mr. D. said, "Well, if you would like to come talk about applying to grad school, and preparing for the GRE's, feel free to drop in."
My reply came at the same time as my mom's, and we said the exact same thing: "I think I'll be fine, but thank you."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Moved back in with my parents.

So, I moved back in with my parents, which means that I have direct access to the internet. This means that I will be posting a lot more, I think. Since moving in, I have set up my bed, and pretty much nothing else. I have not seen anyone I know, I haven't done much of anything except for laundry, which is something that desperately needed doing (Alex was out of boxers). Our room is beautiful: The only trace of my younger self that is still here are the pictures I had taped to my door in high school. We took a walk around town today to see what had changed and I was amazed at all that had. Stores had moved, gone out of business, people had moved, ect. It was a weird little trip down memory lane.
As you know, I ceased contact with my father last January. However, when I moved in, I found that he did not necessarily cease contact with me. Mom found out from my aunt that he was asking her if she knew that I was moving home: Something that I didn't tell anyone who is connected with him. He's stalking me, and I'm not happy about it, which is another reason I'm starting this blog up again.
When I lived in Oregon last year, I worked for the Marion County District Attorney's Office as a victim advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Since finishing college, I have decided that I want to work with child victims of these crimes to effect change using therapy animals. I will be going to grad school for this, and it is really something I have been interested in since middle school, the time when I became aware that what my father was doing was abuse. Not only that, but he groomed me for sexual assault so well, that it wasn't until I was writing my "stay away" letter to him that I realized that what he had been doing to me was also sexual assault.
That being said, I would like to pass on information to women who think they are being abused, and to sexual assault families. It is my hope to get involved with a domestic violence shelter in my new home, or with the DA's office here, and I will be updating all the way.

Monday, April 11, 2011

We Are Like Jenny and Victor

Alex and I keep having this conversation that he and I are like Jenny The Bloggess and her Husband Victor. For those of you who are new to the blog Alex is my ornery betrothed. He steals the warm blankets from me all the time so I freeze to death. But that has nothing to do with today’s conversation.

This morning I was eating breakfast while getting ready for work, and we were discussing the hamster we adopted that I have deemed defective because it isn’t cuddly like it advertises with its fluffiness. I was telling Alex that we need to return it to Petco, because it is defective.

You need to know that Alex is just as crazy as I am. We keep an empty fish bowl on our mantel because I made the mistake of wanting to own a fish that I forgot to feed half the time but miraculously survived living with me for 3 months. Anyway, it died, and now we just keep the bowl full to confuse people. Which, as far as I can tell, only works on people that have recently smoked pot (Alex’s friends, not mine). Only all the water has evaporated, so I guess the fish drank it all or something. Anyway, what spawned this conversation about the devil-rat was that Alex pointed out that we needed a new fish.

I told him that we needed to take back the defective merchandise, and Alex proceeded to inform me that we would probably end up on Not Always Right, the customer service blog that we read occasionally (for Alex, it’s a little more than occasionally I think). Then he monologued the following conversation:

“Hi Petco Employee, we’d like to return this hamster that we adopted from you because it isn’t cuddly and doesn’t like us. Can you refund us the money, or give us a better, more cuddly hamster that’s easier to catch?”

And I told him that’s not the way it would go. No, it would go something more like this:

“Hi Petco Employee, we need to return this hamster because it is from the devil and hates us, and is planning to launch a nuclear coup on us when we are asleep.”

And the Not Always Right story, according to Alex, would continue like this:

*Boyfriend walks out of store*

Edited: Boyfriend to Cashier: “Sorry my girlfriend forgot to wear her tinfoil hat today to let people know she’s crazy. We’ll try to remember it next time.” *Escorts girlfriend out of store*

Is it bad that I really want to try this now?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's definitely been awhile since I posted last, and I know it's on my Bucket List to post 200 times on this thing, and I'm in my last semester of college, so I guess I should start posting again. Well, plenty of new stuff since I posted last: I've been promoted at my new (as of November) job, I'm writing my super exciting, super cool thesis that will allow me to graduate this spring (if my professor ever sends me notes back, and I excommunicated my father, which I guess is another thing I can cross off my Bucket List. I sent the letter last month (January 11, 2011). I'm calling that day my freedom day. But it doesn't feel like freedom. Here's something I wrote:

"Hi, my name is X.
I'm a victim of y.
My freedom date is MM/DD/YYYY."
Together: "Hi X."
"Hi, my name is M.
I'm a victim of n.
My freedom date was MM/DD/YYYY."
Together: "Hi M."
My turn.
"Hi, my name is..."
Shit, what's my name?
Has his crime
Destroyed that much of me?
Where's my ID?
It says JA,
but that isn't me.
"My name is J."
What am I a victim of though?
What was the crime?
Dammit, why is this so
Difficult to Remember,
Difficult to Accept.
Maybe I don't want to remember.
Maybe I don't want to accept.
"I'm a victim of domestic abuse and
Child Molestation,"
if that's what you want to call it.
I don't know if I would call it that.
Molestation is such a dirty word.
I don't want to be associated with that.
It's what pervs do,
It's what bad people do.
It's the stuff offenders tell their
Not to tell about.
And he never told me not to tell,
So that must mean it wasn't,
or was it?
God, this is embarrassing.
Who am I talking to?
God must not exist.
He wouldn't have let this happen to me.
"My freedom date was 1/11/2011."
Only I don't feel free.
I feel guilt.
I feel sadness.
I thought freedom was supposed to be a
Good feeling,
So why do I feel lost,
like I'm in a large field with no landmarks on the horizon
or anywhere around me?
Lost with no name.
It's like Waiting for Godot
This is pointless.

I wonder if the slogan here is
'One day at a time'
like in AA.
Only here, we're not addicts,
we're victims of "addicts".
Mine's not an addict. He only did it to me.
He just has better excuses than
Others like him.
And better ways of hiding it,
And a better threshold for the
Getting Caught
Remaining Not GUILTY.
What he did is so much less than
Any other defendant.
But so much more
Because it's gone
and will remain so.
Maybe my letter was a bad thing,
Because it informed him he was
and needs to step back.

I look out the window and see a
Brick Wall.
Unwavering, despite my efforts.
This isn't freedom.