Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Effects of Mental and Emotional Abuse

That cold, January morning, was an exciting day, not only for me, but for the entire state of Minnesota. We, as a state, had always suffered, immeasurably, under horrible sports teams. 

The Minnesota Twins were coming off eight or nine losing seasons with stars like Alex Ochoa, and...well...Kirby Puckett had lost vision in his eye, so there wasn't anyone else. The Vikings had hung around mediocrity for so long, everyone expected them to stay there - until that year.

Fresh off a 15-win season, the Vikings were in the last round of the playoffs. Win this game and they would go on to the Big Dance. Randall Cunningham was our quarterback, tossing touchdowns to the best receiver in the history of football - Randy Moss. Number 84.  

I loved this team. At the time, I could name every player, knew every face, and could dictate to anyone who asked, every single play of every single game, for the entire season. I knew this, because I had listened to every game, under my pillow, on an old transistor radio.

Every Sunday, I would sneak up to my bedroom, hoping my abusive mother wouldn't catch me going upstairs, crawl into the top bunk, take the radio out from under the mattress, turn it on so quietly that it had to be right up to my ear to hear the calls of the game, and listen, racing back downstairs on the commercials.

This January morning was different, though. For some reason, I was in the dank, damp basement, listening to the game under the stairs. I could hear footsteps above me as the Vikings marched down the field. I knew which footsteps belonged to whom. My single mother's were very distinct. She was obviously sitting on her couch, reading her Christian reading material, lost in the conflicts of the Middle East, seeing the only solution as, "everyone needed Jesus."

The Vikings lost the ball. Atlanta marched down the field, getting into field goal range. They kicked the ball and the entire state held its collective breath, hoping beyond all hope, that the nearly perfect boot man would miss. The ball sailed through the uprights as time expired. 

The state shrugged.

Another season. Hopes dashed again. Except, this time, our hopes were raised up to a level we hadn't seen (or remembered) since the 1970's. 

I was crushed. I had fallen in love with this team. Every Sunday was an exercise in three hours of terror, thinking I would be caught, red-handed, at any moment, coupled with the sheer joy of circumventing my mother's inconsistent rules, and dodging the inevitable, nearly life-ending beating I would incur, should I get caught, just to feel the camaraderie of millions of other souls, being just like me - watching a game. And now it was over.

Nonetheless, my childhood was just beginning to flower. My independent spirit lit a small spark inside me, deep down. I was going to be somebody, someday, uncontrolled by my mother, far from the beating hand of the one who called herself, "authority, by God." I had proven that through the grueling season, never getting caught, learning new ways to hide, enjoying what I wanted to do.

I was 19.


  1. Omg that blew my mind when I got to your age. I left a church when I came out abd they ousted me. But I had the resources to shek the dust off my feet with little problem. My heart goes out to you. X

  2. It always amuses me to hear people say, Wow, how old were you????? They have little idea that age makes hardly a dent when you are mindfucked from birth and isolated in woo-woo shite.