Archive for February, 2017

On Being Beaten with a Green Hairbrush.

Posted in About me on February 27, 2017 by Tyrienne

brush  On the gossip bench, next to the black AT&T phone above piles of aging phone books was the green brush- with black tines like nails and so hard it felt like it was made of something much less forgiving than simple plastic.  There was not a lot of forgiveness to be found much of anywhere, really- but forced apologies were the only conversation I was permitted as I was beaten for the snarls in my hair before I was able to grab my school bag and run to school with my lip still split and bleeding to the elementary school exactly a block and a half up the street.
My teacher called me a “disruption” and with a look of disgust sent me in shame to the principals office when I could not stop crying.
This woman, only a few short years prior, was the guidance counselor for the senior high my young parents attended before not long enough before I existed.  She offered to let me read her copy of “The Rough Faced Girl“.  Her name was long and Estonian, I likely could not type it if I tried.  She did her best- my parents despised the woman and any other person who even so much as attempted to intervene on my behalf.
I knew therapists from a young age- “If we had a magic wand, I would make this all go away.” and other meaningless sayings.

At home, my door was torn off of the hinges after I tried to block entrance with my dresser.  I can still smell the pungent mix of halitosis, menstruation,  and cheap perfume on my mother/monster’s repugnant body.

“You look like your mother,” said my father over the years.
“You don’t stick your dick into a yeti and expect a bouquet of roses” I replied.

He has new stepdaughters now- they had fathers, I spend most of my days pretending to be an orphan like the beginning line of the black crowes song, as I am told- yet again- that my father chose to start over with a new family- and two children by two different fathers calling him “Daddy”- both adults, that do not remind him of his failure as a teenager to do the simple task of not impregnating monsters.

“Your grandfather would have hated you,” my mother used to say, my dead grandfather dead, corpse never seen- with his house full of tropical fish and other small animals he raised for pet shops.  A brilliant man with many aliases I learned later- a frustrating career of intelligence stifled by remaining a silenced refugee on American soil always between the scales of “hero” or “villain” depending on the context of which moment of history cast their judgement.  My mother was ugly, selfish, and foul in odor and action.

I secretly thought “The enemy of my enemy may have been my best ally”  Ironically, he started his career as ‘Axis’.
My grandmother still says he would have loved me.  Her, a secret historian who worked as my mother’s own housekeeper/slave playing dumb intentionally to keep us safe in the time of the red scare.   She now compiles articles and books for Latvian history, my husband enraged when he sees how everyone else patronizes her and treats her as a lackwit while she spends her days with poor eyesight with a magnifying glass reading books in many languages and cutting out articles to show the progression of the liberation of her home country.

She had those articles neatly organized on the bed in the spare bedroom, my mother picked them up like all the garbage she never cleaned in the hoarder home in which she raised my brother and I, and tossed countless hours of work to the side so she could sleep on the ancient bed that likely groaned both from her weight as well as the resentment of her presence.  Not to take care of her mother after heart surgery, more to make certain that she could delight in dictating what her own mother was and was not permitted at that time.  There were other places to sleep.  Like an animal marking her temporary prescence, she chose the absolute most destructive.

Months of research, organization, and work- in a sloppy pile.  Grandma says she doesn’t mind, I do not know if she ever picked up the articles again yet.  Her mother was just like her daughter, except grandma got to pick out the birch switch with which she was beaten.

Her most used words in English are “Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!” as if awaiting another blow, even now 86 years old.

“Why don’t you want to speak Latvian?”  is the question,  my mother taking my grandmother to funerals of distant relatives who treated me with kindness, of neighbors, once childless, who would graciously take this ever wounded child into their homes to allow my mother her tantrums upon an empty house and would cover the sound of her shrieking with Pierre Robert on WMMR radio.

If she is there, I do not attend.  Ever. Like walking into the cage of the bear before hibernation at the wildlife refuge, I imagine her charging and frothing with the same hostility that typified my experiences of her as a child.

My hell never ended.

I lived like a fairy princess occasionally, brought to my paternal grandparents house on the shining hill in front of the Merion golf course, their land glittered with mica shale and I enjoyed their pool, the clean sheets of my bed that smelled of fabric softener and, to me, love.   My Nana would take me shopping, here I could bring friends over, all I had to do was pretend to be normal.  Nana was my confidant, she tried her best to get me removed and despite a group effort, my father moved us from the best school district in the state to the worst.  That changed with dementia.  That changed also when I finally broke enough to attempt to end my life and my Pop pop called me in the psychiatric ward to tell me PTSD was not real, that I could fix it because it was “all in my head”.  He has alzeimer’s now.  It is all in his head.  I wonder if he has enough cognizance to recognize the irony, or like most injustice, he just looks the other way.  He told me I failed, I should have succeeded at killing myself then.  Just another failure on my list of growing failures of his life was my survival.  We aren’t close, I still call on holidays to be polite.

Counties away from home, my middle school of backwoods inbred Christians who looked at Science with suspicion and only concerned themselves with if you were “saved”-  I wasn’t even saved from the unheated closet that I called my bedroom, half the size of what I lived in when we lived with my grandmother.  My mother said the house would be clean now that we were away from her- but needles from abandoned sewing projects grew like cacti in every room, our feet constantly in danger of impalement- and it Was All My Fault- her items were my responsibility to clean.  The house was disgusting, the abuse amped up considerably.  My father often having to pull my mother off of me as the blows rained down like hammers onto a skinny post, or to remove those hamhock hands from around my slender, adolescent throat.

I now live as a minimalist, every object I truly own can fit in a small car- except books.  I have left a trail of books through 8 states and 3 countries over the course of my life of trying to find someplace safe for my heart, now officially under the care of a cardiologist- broken- forever beating too fast to be controlled by medication forever.  I lived in panic too long and now it does not know how to beat except rapidly as a rabbit without pharmaceutical intervention, and in my future, a pacemaker.

The food I was not permitted to eat, I had to cook- and then do dishes after.  Even now doing dishes can cause me to break at the counter, shaking… remembering being a country away with a man I thought loved me, trying to end the relationship I thought would bring my life normalcy back home:  instead, 7 years with a man who would leave me at the drop of a hat, when his parents said so, because I wasn’t pretty as the ex who cheated on him for over a year, because when I was sick he was busy playing video games to help- my brother driving over an hour to help me take a shit after a hysterectomy, to make sure I took my medications, as John sat and played “Mass Effect” talking about his day class he took to manage his bipolar disorder.

But, of course, I was always the one who was mentally sick…no one else.  Not my mother, my father, my grandparents, or my ex lovers.  My mental illness diagnosed scapegoat for everything unpleasant in their lives regarding me.

“Crazy” is the best word to silence the voice of the person who speaks against you, is it not?

“Did you take your medication?” asked my diagnosed schizophrenic father who laughingly throws his pills in the bin each time they are prescribed, stating that his “genius is misunderstood” by medical professionals.

We were out to eat at a steakhouse when he announced “I was abused by your mother too.”  I reacted acerbically-  he could have called 911, he could have left, he could have not stopped the abortion that created the current failure in billions that is me.

Non starter, under achiever, wasted potential, high IQ.

“But you are so BRIGHT!” exclaim happy strangers, “You can be anything you want!” their smiling faces never hit across the cheek with that green hairbrush, the black tines not scarring their perfect faces.

I was told I would never go to college since I denied my parents the privilege.  It was their punishment of me for their underage fucking.

My father said he “would have helped”- I finally went at 27.  He helped for a time, until his wife tried to force him to force me to quit my last semester.  She was working on a low level nursing degree over several years to “take care of her child” who was 12, obese, and narcissistic.  Sent home for wearing revealing outfits in the 7th grade and heels- not for being inappropriate, but for honestly being abhorrent.

She is in college now- an apartment she cannot afford without the grace of my father’s income…. her own father a dead pedophile who abused her half sister with a history of addictions and violent behavior.  The sister who had my father’s ribs broken by her boyfriend.

Apparently, both sisters are easier to deal with than I am.  I don’t remind my father of his every failure- the newest being the house he is leaving to move to a smaller one, likely financed by my grandparents- for despite being an engineer, my father has about as much sense with money as a child building bridges out of lego blocks on a toy carpet.

The same father who couldn’t help me after my surgery because he had to order the reception hall for his 18 year old not-child’s graduation party.

I graduated college and did not attend my commencement.  I got a cupcake from my sister in law and I got piss-all drunk at a friends house instead- staring at my bloodshot eyes in the mirror.  Three majors, two degrees, cum laude and a published thesis only people in Pakistan read now.

It was all a waste because I am on disability, it was all unearned because I was on food stamps as I earned it as I didn’t have a “real job” in the worst recession since the depression.  I was working towards a government job that no longer exists- but my two degrees are two more degrees than anyone else in my family outside of my brother or my uncles.  I used my food stamps carefully to trade for gas money to get me to college- the college where my work for my advisor was never “good enough” only to be good enough to plagiarize into his native tongue as I defended him, honored, at first, for the privilege.

My mother I have not seen in over a decade and I hope not to see again until she is staring up from her coffin, where I fantasize I can hit back her cold, dead face with that hard green brush so she decomposes with the mark she left on me- and to bury her with the hinges to all the doors she removed so she could wrap her hamhock hands around my throat and squeeze, screaming- calling me a demon for wanting to breathe as a child only to wish she were better at killing people reflecting on my flashbacks as an adult.

My Pop pop said I dishonor my family by living after my suicide attempt at 30.  I turn 35 on March 5th.  I am allowed to have sleeping pills again after five years- since I do not sleep well at night.  My husband bought me a pick up truck for Valentines day my family assumes must have been achieved via some sort of guile not comprehending that blue collar workers can be more successful than the strenuous work they did behind their desks, sitting in air conditioned offices dealing with the enormous stress of sitting over 8 hours a day as my husband works like a cog in a machine I cannot free him from, his coworkers, actually injured, exhausted, and treated like cattle in the slaughterhouse.

Who will die next and how?  They wonder-  a few months ago a man was electrocuted working on a transformer outdoors in the rain.  It doesn’t count, her was merely a contractor.  He watched a man run down the factory floor holding his own severed fingers in a glove, leaving a trail of blood- chased by a concerned supervisor wondering how they would break this to OSHA.  He pulled three men to safety after an oven exploded.  One, fell into his arms crying and never returned.  No one recognized him for doing this- they were too busy covering up for the explosion, and all the letters written to OSHA resulted in a fine and frantic clean-ups before the inspectors appeared to leave some papers tacked to the wall of offenses.

And here I am on disability. Guilty, that I cannot do better for my spouse as he feeds plates into a hungry machine, one after one, pointlessly with the end goal being to continue to furnish the rich lives of the overlords who live in decadence with the side effect being the paycheck that allows me to lie here alone with my dark thoughts- cancelling plans, hiding in this bedroom with the black out curtains.  I don’t have parties anymore.

My dogs take me outside, not vice versa. If they did not I wouldn’t leave this bed much at all.

I am learning to play the viola and the violin, each week spending $20 to rent an hour of a kind, elderly man. I joke and say it is “rent a grandfather”, but I am not very good at anything beyond gallows humour  ( and certainly not good at the viola) If something happened to my music teacher I hardly know I would likely be inconsolable for the loss of the allegorical bandage he has become in the absence of people who should care but don’t.

And I wonder, always- and have always wondered-  What if my family sees something awful about my composition that my spouse does not, that I do not?

By the nature of gaining the ability to barely survive I have become more alien, not less to family and acquaintances… learning the strange few who relate to me have horrors of their own, and those who have lived without horror, sadness, fear or pain against their will would prefer if I were silent and invisible.

They would prefer if I did not elicit the same reactions from the larger Heathen community that I have seen in my own family- the erasure of harms afflicted, being lied about ridiculously to the point where a leader of the AFA called my husband a “necromancer” and other sheep in wolves clothing believed it.  I worship the wrong Gods to be considered folkish.  Few welcome the Lokeans, even with the proper pedigree.  Marvel comics and backgrounds in Christianity require someone to play the roles of Satan and Judas Iscariot, too ignorant to understand polytheism, and I am not respected enough to be more than a small voice of contradiction in a sea of new converts with each new episode of ‘Vikings’,  ‘Game of Thrones’, each new ‘Thor’ movie or Neil Gaiman project, and every other franchise that marches on the corpses of the Odinists who were alive when I was born,  as they wear hammers the size of fists, but never read the Edda’s to know that without Loki there would be no Mjollnir necklaces.

To be hated by the Troth for defending myself and asking for a woman spreading lies about myself and my husband to be settled publicly, instead to be told by the leader that “It wasn’t his decision” to have us barred- but what sort of leader is that?  As he creates imaginary histories for our shared family of twelve genders that do not exist among the Amish and never did- and re-creates holidays no one in my county has heard of but by his lips have been endemic for centuries.

People not of our ancestry invited to celebrate festivals of bullshit like white folks at the pow wows being given “Indian Names”.

I have tried to find the kinship I had not found in my family in my religion and mostly failed, except for those just as broken, discarded, maligned, and despised as I am.  So, when I feel better than I do now, I listen and help other people through their tragedies.

Realizing the only other chaplain who ever did such a thing is too important being Emperor of a tragic kingdom of people who read Amish erotica too concerned with modern sensibilities of inclusion to bother to continue to preserve what good our ancestors strove to pass onwards to us, and in my estrangement, cannot do so myself.

We would create our own community except we are too broken to leave our homes but rarely, and only talk when we are hurting;  I suppose we are too weak for any family at all.

And in my head, all I can hear is the voices of two girls calling my father “Daddy” as they use him as their personal ATM machine- yet remembering also that he would intentionally step away from the cash register when we purchased a five dollar hose to fix our clothes dryer.

“Daddy, I need money to get fast food after cheer practice”- said a fat daughter of the pedophile.   I worked since I was twelve, and I would have been beaten by my mother for that question.  Does it not bother him that his wife stayed with the pedophile even after his crimes were revealed?  That she gave up her own eldest daughter to be abused for her own financial comfort?

No wonder they stay married.

“You shouldn’t resent your father’s new family, isn’t his happiness important to you?”

Is it not important that I have been erased in favor of strangers?

“Why do you care about what the Heathen community does?”

Because, like family, it is the only religion I really have.  Even theistic  Discordianism is not really a religion- more of a gathering of the damaged.

My mother told a therapist once that she was “still trying to break my spirit” when I was a teenager, I can picture the community bemoaning me in the same way.

Why am I still alive?  I think it is because I have nothing to lose in speaking the truths no one ever wants to hear.



Posted in About me on February 21, 2017 by Tyrienne



Artist Unknown.

“You chose me,  I am amused and a bit surprised, ”  stated the firey red fox coquettishly, “All things considered, I thought you would choose the entirely humorless, limping wolf for council in everything.”  I noticed then that I, too was a fox, nowhere near as brilliant.  My fur the copper of old pennies compared to the reds found only in poppies and fire before me, shining with iridescence.  I was afraid I had upset him, only for a moment, before he crossed the distance between us and touched his nose to my own.
“I am looking for contentment, I thought you would know that better.That is not something I would go to Ty-” I found my mouth filled with the fluff of his tail.
“Shh!  Human names are heretical.” he gracefully moved his tail in an arabesque clearing my face.
“Wait- what?  Why?”
“You believed there were only Gods for humans?  Why would an animal worship a human or pay homage to their oppressors?”  His grin, feral… subtext dripping from his words like golden syrup.  “I don’t care for humans very much right now, I abhor their present stupidity.”
“You sound like my frien-”
“Spike,”  we said at once.  The Fox, ceaseless in graceful movement danced like leaves on a breeze,”
“That is because we are of the same type.  Not everyone is a wolf, a boar, or a raven.  Some of us are foxes.  You are a fox, I am a fox, he is a fox… if you want contentment, do fox things… and the first is to go feral.”
“Feral.” He sat ramrod straight, posed brilliantly and shining, “No fox is happy in a crowd for very long, but goes wherever she pleases and stays as long or short as she likes.   A fox eventually grows away from its family, and keeps primary companionship with its mate.  She is not collared, she is not owned.  She does not take more responsibility than pleases her, but she is careful of her territory and mindful of her den.” He paused.  “A fox is you.  It is not good to be a person right now, like to a human be a fox- happily join their picnics and just as happily return home.” His eyes like emeralds in sunlight shined, “You belong to yourself, and you worry yourself only with what directly impacts your existence.”
He jumped back up onto higher ground,  if a jump can be a graceful leap of shining wonder, the fire of his pelt shimmered and blazed and dazzled the eyes.  All I could think is “Man, being a mortal is so dull.” in every sense of the word.  I was a boring, brown fox staring at the God of Foxes,  that in itself was something quite spectacular, and I was filled not with fear but curiosity and endless questions I wished to ask and have answered.
“That is actually the effect I am aiming for on our kind,  thanks for being so receptive.”
“I still have to wonder, though, why I don’t feel like I should cower in fear before you or feel something awful.”
“You have not pissed me off, I will explain contentment-  Contentment is not caring one way or the other what anyone who does not affect you thinks.”
“You affect me,”
“Clearly. But you are being intentionally obtuse.” he cleared his throat.  “Do you have food?  Do you have shelter?  Do you have a home to improve?  A skill to learn?  Someone to love? Do you have your health?”
“Well, yes-” Although his line of questioning was rapid fire, I kept up and found I could agree to all of those things.
“Then you will grow contentment. Foxes grow away from their families to be with their mates and find allies among other creatures in the wood.  Remember, do not take on more responsibility than pleases you.    Do not take too much to feed your ego or so little to feed laziness.  Be helpful to other creatures, but not so much that you are left wanting.  If a person throws a snare into your den, avoid it.  You know it is there, it will decompose.”
“But-” I interjected, knowing this experience to be exceptional.
“Humans-”  he enunciated with disgust, “Are pissing me off.  I understand that the forth dimensional existence is limits your form, but your spirit is still limitless.”As the light faded until I could see only by the light he radiated he smiled,
“Be a fox, be feral, and you won’t piss me off.   Humans. Are. Pissing. Me. Off.”