That’s why life sucks ass. – Yari Simone
My mother killed herself when I was nine years-old. I found her.
Riddled with tragedy my existence has been seemingly cursed since conception. Always I’ve felt like the punch-line for one of God’s sick little jokes. Ha-ha!
Being forced to submit to the demands given by this deranged madman, who superciliously calls himself a god has made me bitter. I was never one for being controlled.
This incited chip on my shoulder has somehow transformed into a pigheaded drive. Never would I have imagined that my mother’s suicide could be the doctrine pushing me to free myself from the fickle fate of the universe. Call it a deranged sense of perseverance. But sometimes you gotta bake a cake out of shit.
My inspiration in life, if you can call it that, is the fear of not knowing where my dreams will dump me. I know – crazy. I may be fucked-up but at least I’m honest.
I’ve never been a fool to the mechanics of the world. Christ, I figured that one out when I saw Victoria lying there in the tub with her wrists slit. For me, it’s difficult to live without being mindful of the wisps of false hope I’m tortured with daily, and how they’re cleverly placed to blindside me from the impending doom that immediately follows.
Brand me a cynic, or even an insufferable whiner, but am I to just sit back while my existence is being determined by the kind of day some deity is having? No thanks. I refuse to bow down only to be forced to submit to the cruelty of such a god. Not without a fight. Not while there’s still life left in me.
I grew up in a low-class neighborhood in Shelby, Massachusetts – an hour west of Worcester. My mother, Victoria was a fulltime housewife. She was attentive to my brother, Eli and me. But not affectionate. The small farmhouse that we lived in was always tidy. And Victoria had meals ready three times a day. But the parenting ended there. Besides her domestic obligations, she was simply my legal guardian.
My mother didn’t have the best upbringing: an unhappy home life featuring an adulterer father who was physically abusive, and a mother who was nothing short of a mouse, doing everything that she was told. This hard-knock childhood sadly forced Victoria to move in with her married, older sister as a means of escape. She was fourteen.
Victoria then met Marty. They married once discovering that she was pregnant with me - most likely unplanned.
Marty’s contribution to the family was by doing the fatherly thing – ya know, bringing home the bacon while moonlighting as a dastardly debaucherer on the weekends with the local white-trash whores. It amazed me that his sloppy, unkempt appearance could attract anyone of the opposite sex. He was a tall burly drunk, always overweight by at least fifty pounds. The beer-belly he devotedly kept hung over his belt by several inches. His black hair - always greasy, always messy - framed a permanent bloated, five o’clock-shadowed face.
Shelby was a small town and everyone knew what kind of slime Marty was. He didn’t give a shit what people thought of him. Having an eye for scabby, insecure women, even the occasional innocent girl, I caught that pig masturbating once in front of his bedroom window while watching me sunbath in the yard. He knew I saw his vile act, but continued until he was done. Sick bastard.
No one ever offered a reason as to why Victoria would do something as desperate as to take her own life. I blame Marty, mostly. I’m certain that a man as sadistic as he was could drive a person to do the unthinkable. He was that inhuman.
When Victoria died, he didn’t help with my emotional detachment, refusing to send me to seek help from a therapist. It didn’t matter that I would have benefited from it. The detective who came to the house the day of Victoria’s death even strongly recommended it. That cold prick, Marty wouldn’t hear of it. I remember him saying as I sat on a stool in the kitchen confused and scared out of my mind that I would get over it
All I possess of Victoria in my memory is the stoic, faded features of a woman who was born to become a robot. Maybe if she had been married to a loyal, loving man the beauty that was draped by misery could have invariably shined. The sharp features of her face might not have been so tethered. Her long, dull, brown hair could’ve adorned salon highlights, or her tall, slim frame accentuated with fashionable attire. Instead, she was plain and sad.
I’ll never forget how her distant green eyes yearned for a different life. Looking back, I see the signs of a woman plotting her death on a daily basis.
The impending years after her suicide I became a recluse, avoiding human contact - introverted to the point of depression, especially after Josephine was forced into my life. Marty’s second wife. My pitiless father remarried four months after Victoria’s death to a woman so disturbed there truly are no words to embody her. She was one of his mistresses. Same scenario: woman stays at home with the kids while he screws around.
Marty worked long hours, so he led us to believe, leaving me alone with my stepmother when I dared to be there. I hated the ground she walked on. And oh, how I recall her abuse so vividly.
“Yari - you lazy ‘lil bitch, get in here and help me clean the kitchen before dinner.” Josephine would screech through a mouth full of cigarette, while stomping her slippers through the kitchen.
The sound of the plastic soles slapping the tiles haunts me to this day.
Her bottle-red hair, clammy worn face, and saggy body, is stuff that nightmares are made of. I resisted mouthing off most of the time, because she liked to hit me with whatever inanimate object was within reach: kitchen utensils, books . . . ash-trays. She wasn’t picky.
Josephine, too, was a degenerate boozer - a wino if there ever was one - lushing it up from dawn until she passed out, which was usually during The Gong Show.
That witch was always belligerent, taking a particular interest in making my life hell. The plethora of insults she inflicted was like second nature for her. She would go out of her way to humiliate me in front of anyone in ear shot. The mission of this sardonic lush was to get my self-esteem so low I would believe the insults. She never won though. I was too strong.
My younger brother, Eli was Marty and Josephine’s favorite. He resembled Marty with his dark features, making it easier for them to embrace him. I, on the other hand, was a constant visual reminder of Victoria. In their unstable minds that was enough of a reason for them to hate me.
I remember hearing them tell Eli that I was the reason why my mother killed herself. After a while he believed the lie, pretending like I didn’t exist whenever we were in the same room. Their intentional isolation made me hate every one of them.
My noxious relationships didn’t have an exclusive at home. The kids at school labeled me a freak. They had no idea what drove me to be so withdrawn. My bitter resentment toward life infiltrated every square-inch of me.
I avoided going home after school. The only place I could think of to hide-out at the age of eleven was the library. There, I was surrounded by strangers that didn’t torment me. This refuge aided in deluding my despair.
I ran away from my life in books. Having read just about everything the library had in their collection. I traveled everywhere from Narnia to the Shire, including the tangible lands of Rome, Paris and Egypt. Having no one at home to do the proper parental passing of life experiences, I made a point to read books on love, relationships and being a woman.
Writing was also an escape for me - my home refuge when the library was closed. I scribbled down all of my thoughts, my dreams and fears, through poetry and songs. I had to talk to someone. So it became a tattered, cloth-covered journal that offered its attentive, silent pages for me to reach out to. After being screamed at or demoralized by either Marty or his bitch wife, I would hide-out in my bedroom within this ratty book I bought at a yard sale.
Even though the ink flowed as the facilitator for my angst and anguish through dolor words upon stale bleached paper, my heart still ached for physical separation from my life. My most significant means for salvation, however, was the greatest love of my life - music. The library had a mixed-bag record collection, of which I’d choose my selections for the day - determined by my mood - prop on these huge domed headphones and slip away.
I vegged on the sounds of Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, Grand Funk Railroad, Bad Finger, The Doors, Heart, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Sarah Vaughan, whatever I could get my hands on. My music pallet was pretty diverse.
Music became Prozac for my depression. I remember listening to Led Zeppelin for days once, because I was feeling severe loneliness. Their lyrics brought me closer to the band, farther from the nasty people in my life. Rather than choose uplifting stuff I was habitually seduced by songs that spoke of my morose world. I used this psychotic compulsion as a means of beating the hell out of my intrusive thoughts until they went numb. Rock was such a deep poignant friend of mine. More than I think it was ever intended by the geniuses who created it.