Saturday, June 15, 2013

What Lies Beneath

What lies beneath my smile and decent mood, lately has been an obsession that I have dealt with for the last year or so. It stems from my childhood and research that I have been trying to do for the last five years.  I am left feeling lost, bitter, and angry. It is all directed at one person.

Thirty four years ago I was born to a twenty one year old amazing abuse survivor on her birthday. We are very close and she has always been as honest with me as possible. To say my mother and I are best friends is an understatement.  She was abused by her father, a preacher only to marry a physically abusive and mentally abusive man who not only beat her but cheated on her constantly. He was a monster. In this time she had begun to work at a fruit stand in Greenville, Texas. It was run by Barbara and Nick Nicholson. She had met their son Monty. My mother became very close with these people and they were the only friends that she had. She fell in love with their son who was, for lack of a better word a womanizer.

Before I was conceived another woman that had been in a relationship with Monty had told him that he had gotten her pregnant. He has admitted this to me on the rare occasions that we have spoken. Barbara couldn't believe it and was angry so the woman left with her son to California. The only information I could get was that his name was Patrick.

Not to long after that I was conceived. My mother was told by Nick not to tell Barbara that Monty was my father because not only would she not believe it but it could ruin the great relationship my mom had developed with Barbara. I would not be able to see them and be a part of their lives. So my mother stayed quiet. However my mother did name me after her.

I grew up playing in the fruit stand for a few years in the summer. Barbara would pick me up and coddle me. Nick would let me play and he was very good to me. Monty, I have less memories of. He was around sometimes and I have been told he would take me out with him places, but I do not remember that.  My mother left her abusive husband and met and married the man who raised me. Time changes and with it relationships can fall to the way side. We moved several times and I never saw Nick and Barbara again.

As a child I had been told that Monty was my father. I grew up feeling adopted. Hours spent looking at my face and wondering if I looked like the Nicholson family. Were they like me? Did we like the same things? Did they have my eyes or my button nose? I always had an emptiness inside of me of the not knowing. Why was I not good enough for him to want to be a part of my life still? Why would they not want to claim me to others? Why couldn't Barbara be told that I was her granddaughter?

Nick had often told my mother that I looked like his side of the family. I always held onto this hope that I was somehow like them. An empty whole that could never be filled by anything else except knowing why I was cast aside and forgotten. Was I such a bad girl that they could no longer love me? What part of me is my mom's side and what part of me is them? Looking in the mirror created more questions than answers. You see, there are physical traits that I have that no one else on my mom's side has. She would tell me I had a long neck like Barbara and I would try to lift my head higher to see it and imagine that maybe somehow I was like her. Grasping at any straws that I could grasp. How would I ever know myself without knowing what makes me, me? I have no information on my ancestry on that side. I have no medical information on that side. I have nothing but a gaping empty place where my soul should be. A wound that has never quite fully healed.

Fast forward to my first pregnancy at age twenty three. I had met my wonderful husband and we decided to have a child. Going to the doctor's was scary but pretty common until they started asking me questions about my family history. Questions I had no answers for. So I had decided that for my child I would stand up and stop allowing myself to be a dirty little secret to my biological father. I was no longer going to be silent. I found his parent's phone number which thankfully had not ever changed. I called Barbara and I told her the truth. She remembered me and we talked. Apparently, at that time Monty was staying with them and when pushed he admitted I was his daughter. I got some medical information and for the next five years Barbara and I became quite close. I would call her every two weeks and I sent her pictures of my children once a month along with a letter. I even talked to Monty. Not realizing that he was trying to get back with my mother who refuted him. All was going pretty well and part of me started to heal. Then Barbara and Nick went to a nursing home. Nick had health issues and Monty would not tell me what nursing home they moved into. I was afraid that because Nick's health was bad that maybe I should back off. About two months later I was told he had died. I was told by my mother because Monty had emailed her to tell her. He didn't call me or email me. It was a slap in the face. I called him to give him my sympathy and ask about how Barbara was. He was stand offish and when I asked if I could talk to my grandmother (she is after all my grandmother) he told me she had Alzheimer's and did not remember me. After five years of talking  she just forgot me. That quickly I was extracted from the family I had fought so hard to connect with. Again.

I was devastated and so I found the online guest book of the obituary of Nick. It mentioned his sons and his family. It talked about his grandchildren from his other son. My name was not mentioned. I was refuted again. I became angry. I began to hate Monty. I realized that he was talking to me only to get to my mother. I realized that when he apologized for not being there for me, he was just trying to feel better about himself because I forgave him. I realized that he had never told any of his family that he had a daughter. I was still his dirty little secret. Nothing had ever changed. I still was not important to him and my existence was never going to mean anything to him. He never loved me or even cared.

He changed his number and stopped replying to my emails. He moved away and never told me where. He even took Barbara with him. What I know is that not only had he sabotaged me having her as a grandmother the first time but he took her away from me again. Twice he has done this to me. I tried to wrestle with pain and frustration. I tried to fill the whole that was left inside of me. Again.

So knowing that I would never fill the abandonment of him. I tried to be the best person I can be. As I grew up I made sure I never turned my back on anyone like he has done to me over and over again. I strived to be better than Monty. Better than lies and half truths. I strived to be a person he could accept and then I strived to do the one thing he never could or would. I strived to love myself, because I deserve so much better than that.

I had been thinking about my brother Patrick. Maybe I can find a missing part of myself if I could reach out and find my brother. Maybe I could have a meaningful relationship with him. Maybe we could heal together. The only issue with that is that I would have to rely on Monty for information. I found him on face book. He added me back but he wouldn't answer my questions.Typical to do what he wants but not give me the one thing I have ever asked for. The one thing I really feel I need at this point. So I waited and after two weeks of crying and checking to see if he would answer me. After two weeks of feeling all of the pain and anger that I stuffed down for thirty four years the feelings started to come back up. I decided to message his wife.

I knew she probably did not know he had a daughter but I tried anyway. I told her the honest truth. That Monty was never in my life. That he told me about a brother and I just needed my brother's  mother's name and his whole name and birth date. I didn't want to start trouble but I had been asking this man for a while. That he never gives me the time of day. That I have this whole inside of me that he created and I needed just one thing from a man who has never given me anything and I didn't think it was too much to ask. I asked if she knew what it was like to look at pictures on face book or google+ with the name I have and try and see if you look like these people. Does he have my eyes? Does he look like me? I asked her if she knew what it is like knowing you have a brother out there and not know what he looks like. If he is alive or dead. If you have walked by him the grocery store and not ever known it. That I don't think I can heal unless I can at least see a picture of him. That I have questions and I just need to know.

She responded and made him message me. She is a terrific person for doing that for a stranger. She had no idea he had a son either....shocking.(sarcasm)

His message was just as I expected. " His name is Patrick. I have never seen or talked to him. I don't think it would be wise for you to contact him. Wish I could help more."

Really. Yes, I can see that helping me has always been top on your list. Ugh. What really pisses me off on this whole thing is not only did he avoid telling me anything of use, but the " not wise to contact him" statement. I think in the thirty four years of Monty's decisions on who I can talk to or communicate with that I should be allowed to make up my own mind. People that are MY family that I was hidden from. People that I have missed out on because he didn't want anyone to know. Not only did he do this to me but he also did this to MY brother whom he feels is unwise to contact. Why because he is afraid that it will hurt me? Hurt Patrick? Why should he be concerned with our feelings now that we are in our thirties when he didn't give a damn when we were kids?
So, I guess my issue is how do I learn to heal this rawness? How do I stop feeling the pain of loss for people who refuse to help me find the one thing I want more than anything. How do I stop looking at myself in the mirror and feel like pieces are missing? Bits of my soul are broken. It's not enough that I deal with mental illness but I am also dealing with devastation that somewhere there is a piece of me walking around that does not know that I exist. And worse yet, I have no way of finding him and telling him. I could handle him not caring or wanting to talk to me. But shouldn't that be our choice? For once can't that be something that WE decide? I would just really like just once to have the option to try. I would just like to see his face, a picture, whatever. Am I asking too much? Am I really? Because we have only one life and Monty has taken so much from mine already, why does he choose to take away the right to know about my brother?

So if there is just a tiny chance that someone somewhere knows of a Patrick over the age of thirty four that was born in Greenville Texas and then moved to California please have him read this.  If there is a Patrick whose father is Monty G Nicholson born in 1955 in Greenville Texas know that there is someone on that unbelievably selfish, self-centered family that is looking for you. That there is someone that cares. You are not a dirty little secret. I am not a dirty little secret. We matter and I want so desperately to finally know what you look like. I want so desperately for you  to know that I exist and I care. What lies beneath all of these lies and falsehoods is us. We are beneath the lies he has told and fed us at every point and I am trying to climb out from under the weight of it and find you.
Neurotic Nelly

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