One of the pathetic ways that the poets would gang up on me and verbally assault me, usually included my style choices, fashions, and appearances. The first one that my ex actively participated in is always the one that stand out and replays itself.
I was waiting for my best friend, Darcy, to met me outside her house. I was sitting against the brick wall between the garages of the joining townhouses. I was resting my head back, soaking in the beaming sunrays. Closed my eyes to take in the moment. I was rudely brought back to the present moment by Austin's vilipending comments about my outfit. Cody shyly echoing Austin's sentiment about my clothing pieces. I was happy about my comfy, brown cords skater pants, my yellow tank top, and my new black sandals that I was trying to break in for my sister's wedding the following month. I was not at all insulted when Austin said I looked like a banana. I was dressed like a sunflower.
The part that hurts in that story was Cody was finding his voice through Austin's anger and jealousy, and I started losing mine to him. By the next week, he was manipulating me; love bombing, treating me like a princess but oddly he manages to slide an abusive moment in each encounter.
Of three children, my birthday is third. My little brother's birthday is in February. My older sister's birthday is early March and my birthday is at the end of March. Some years, I watched both of them get birthday parties and special things. Even as adults, when my sister was about to celebrate a milestone birthday, there was a big deal from relatives but my milestone birthdays were ignored 20 days after her milestone birthdays. We're 5 years apart. There was a big deal at 25, 30, 35... I didn't even get a call - but they would call to get my sister's information from me. It's fucking insulting how obvious LM household (and their families) treated me.
My LM parental units told me when I was turning ten years old that if I wanted a birthday party, I had to plan it myself, well I did and barely any guests came and my parents had to shop of the morning of the party since they did not specify that share my plans. The reason why they did buy party supplies was because I had invited a LM co-worker's child and they wouldn't want to look like they didn't help plan this party - that child didn't come to the party either. I was in trouble after my guest went home. From then on, I never asked for much or anything at all because I would be shutdown and put down quickly.
I didn't get a sweet sixteen party and just before my seventeenth birthday, I told my OM parental unit that I wanted a party. She invited my best friend over on the weekend before my birthday date to celebrate my seventeenth and told Darcy to bring the boys we had met a few weekends ago, Austin and Cody.
My OM parent bought me a piñata. It was set up in the backroom because it was built like a workshop and there was no carpets, it would be easy to sweep up after we broke the piñata open. We each took a turn to try to break it open, then on Austin's second turn, he became violent and raged, he destroyed the piñata but this was not the fun experience I had wished for - - - I loved seeing the people who get a piñata when it's a game and fun but this was scary. Very scary.
Shortly after we gathered what we could find of the candy on the floor, my OM parental unit and her partner went upstairs, the boys and I wanted to go outside for a smoke, Darcy decided she was going to stay in the living room. I went alone with the boys to the greenhouse. My OM parental units retreated to the upstairs (I don't know if they were in the room above the greenhouse or in the front room on the other side of the house). Austin still had that energy from destroying the piñata and he announced that it was necessary to gift me with birthday patty whacks (with the same angry energy on the piñata), I said don't before he grabbed me, he held me close with one arm and repeatedly whacked me with his free hand, he encouraged Cody to hit me. I was helpless and terrified, the way Cody was looking at me, I felt he was victimized as well. I don't remember if Cody had his hands on me, Austin was so chaotic and I just see Cody's smug smirk. Yes, this is the same Cody that I went on to be his girlfriend for eleven months starting that September when I transferred schools. I thought he was a victim too and I tried to protect and encourage him, I guess the way he could have protected me and encouraged me but he never did. He was miserable and mean to me the whole time. Our first kiss could have been so sweet & gentle but he grabbed my face & licked me, and said "how do you like it?" I survived another 330 days of being his "girlfriend".
On my eighteenth birthday, Cody came over for cake and a quick visit. During that visit, we went to the backroom for a cigarette. He made comments on how Austin destroyed the piñata, then he destroyed me. I saw that smirk again, the one I misread as sympathetic was laughing at me and what happened here the year before.
Brazil Coffee House
My friend Lawrence was the person who introduced me to Brazil coffee house. Lawrence was a classmate who I socialized with in the smoker section and then the coffee house. The coffee house was tiny and cozy, a little smoky, a little crowded; it felt like an apartment. There was a small raised stage and a big bookcase filled with literature and games. I loved the music that was playing on their stereo. The coffee house was what that sixteen year old girl, who loved being social, listening to new music, learning something new, playing a card game, and enjoying beverages in a setting that was made for her style and idealism helped create a safe space, she was looking for.
Brazil is my first experience at a coffee house or a coffee shop that was not the national chain franchise and I love everything about it. I started drinking different flavored coffees, explored specialty coffee drinks; I had my first iced coffee there. It took years to find someone to make it as awesome as I remember. I was introduced to chocolate covered coffee beans, pastries, and I adored their create your own sandwich. For my second visit I made sure that my best friend Darcy was with me. We did everything together. We shared a love for Brazil and the art community. I loved coworking on coffee house posters with her. Another art project I remember but I wasn't able to take advantage of getting a custom art t-shirt with the Brazil Coffee House logo. There was a financial barrier and I wish I had made some sort of arrangement to one done by my best friend.
It was usually the high school students that were in any of the arts programs, and former arts kids (in college or being an adult) that typically hung out at Brazil. Brazil hosted live music nights, open mic nights, stand-up, and art exhibits of local youth talents. There were times where I was able to sit and collaborate on a difficult story that I wanted to share; I wasn't able to express all the feelings and the words weren't coming out until I discussed it with a peer, so I was able to create a piece that won me a scholarship.
I wanted to say I fell in love three times but the truth is it's three attachments. I had three attachments while I was a regular at Brazil coffee house. The first attachment was with my boy best friend. We spent every school day together, approximately 3 to 4 hours a day together, each and everyday, and I fell in love with him, I became attached to him. A few occasions he made it clear that I was not his type and just a friend and I was okay with that. I was happy that he was my best friend. It was difficult with him, the mixed messages then he put me down when I tried to open up to him. He would walk away from me when I needed him the most or when I would do the right thing for me (like when I was transferring schools).
The next attachment was during the summer of ‘97, a guitarist paid attention to me and his flirtatious encounters were infatuating. I asked him to be my replacement date to my sister's wedding. We had a wonderful time at the wedding and we had an amazing follow-up date at Brazil where I was his lucky charm and he finally beat the owner at a game of chess. At the end of the summer he moved back to Toronto and I moved on with my narcissistic abuser.
My last attachment was Claire. I met them probably about a month before the closure of the coffee house. They was there for me on a day where my abuser publicly humiliated me and they wrapped me with kindness and warmth in a sweet friendship. Their face is one of the last faces I remember in Brazil on the last day I was there. I can scan the room and still see each of them. I can hear Vicky play Foolish Games by Jewel on the piano. It's the most beautiful edition of Foolish Games I've ever heard.
It breaks my heart knowing now that it was my safe space from home lives. I had a very bad time once the coffee house was gone, I was isolated more and more by my narcissistic abuser. To the point that I missed my own prom because he's constantly standing me up and/or ruining things while we’re out together. I went home and cried. Then guilt kicked in because I bought that dress myself, with my own money that I learned myself. That dress because I wanted it to be a special occasion and its purpose was never fulfilled. Just like that writing scholarship, I never pursued that once we broke up and the realization of the abuses became clear after the fog had lifted.
In the spring 1998, my OM parental unit asked me/told me that the bed I had been using while I visited their home (approximately since 1994) was being return to my stepbrother, and it would be cool to have a beat-up pullout couch from 1987, instead of having an actual bed. I didn't object because that would be rude or upset them. This was just four months after I was made to feel completely unwelcomed in my safe house. I was locked out on Christmas night with Cody, in the backroom/greenhouse, a member of my step family walked into the back room made direct eye contact with me, proceeded to lock the door, leave the room and turn off the light when he shut the door. At first I thought it could be a joke but several minutes we stood in the dark, in the cold. Cody became furious, I was scared, I walked nearly barefooted (just in nylons) from the greenhouse around to the front door, sneaked back into the front entrance sheepishly with cold wet feet, returned to the backroom to let Cody back into the house and beg for forgiveness. Showered him with kisses, affection, and tender moments all night, long into the next day.
The room became more sad in the fall '98 - I got cool lights and those lights were educing negative energy and it was not improving my sadness. I know I made far worse decisions when I wasn't sleeping anymore in October 1998. Earlier this year, I accidently found the right setting on the dimmer to find sad lights and I remembered what it felt like in my sad room. I feel the lighting accelerated my depression and the loneliness that was created from my heartbreak from losing Owen when I sabotaged our relationship and was disowned by both Owen and my dad in 24 hours. I hid at Kate's that first weekend. Drinks were on me! But when the weekends were over, and I had to go to work again, I had to stay in my sad room during the nights.
Artwork: Sad Girl. Here I am cuddling my niece, but what I see is all the sadness in every detail. The hoodie I wore the night he hit me. The hoodie I clinged onto - - - I would have done a ritual or cursed him if it was his blood on the front of my shirt. Unseen from this edit - around my waist is my beautiful le chateau black & white shirt, the one I wore the last time he was like my boyfriend, the last time we kissed. On my left ring finger, I wore the promise ring he gave to me at my xmas formal. When he gifted the ring to me, it was a few sizes too big (found out my ring size was sz 3), and for the first month to two months I wore it on a chain around my neck. He got it resized and returned to me in February then I wore my ring on my right hand. When we broke up I put it away. I began wearing it again on the anniversary of the formal. What I used to think as the first time he broke my heart. I was holding on to the wrong memories from the wrong boy.
I don't know what part was sadder: when I was seeing red flags so easily with Owen and thinking are they all the same? or when I was realizing there was way worse when I found out that so called friends had a bet who could have sex with me first.... after they both tried to have their way(s) with me. The first friend used me and manipulated me to treat him to a movie date, and he confessed he crushed on me but didn't show it until recently, after one week as a couple, he forced my hand on his penis and when I pulled away, he dumped me. The other friend tried courting me, I went with him to his work xmas party, and at a new years' party, he tried to get his way with me. I was over-intoxicated and very vulnerable to being alone in a near blackout state. I am still to this date grateful that my guardian angel, Vanessa, was there distract and be annoying so he could not take me to the bedroom. He had the nerve to ask me to be his girlfriend a few days later, and when I turned him down, he screamed at me that I was a bitch. Who won the fucking bet?!?
I dyed my hair red and moved on to being manipulated by women. The fourth person of the parking garage abusers sang me a sad song and I fell for it. I wanted to help her. I was like a (free) live-in nanny and maid for about a week until my parental units called the cops because I was missing - but I had told my OM parent that I was going to this person's house, there was no phone number to leave, and I had no idea how long I would have been. The original arrangement was the afternoon and evening. I didn't even want to be there after a couple days, I didn't know how to say no or set a safe boundary with her. I didn't feel safe and she kept bringing me around people and places that I was afraid of. I was so done being humiliated by people who pretended to care about me. I went back to isolating like I did before xmas.
Elements & Seven M's of Mallory
August 1986, my parents were moving us into a new neighborhood across town. During the move time, my older sister and I were sent to stay with our aunt Colleen & uncle John in Toronto. Colleen & John had beautiful house downtown. I remember that their house had wood stairs & banister and I remember the artwork on the walls; I love the hardwood floors and the closets that adjoined the rooms upstairs in a magical way for a six year old girl. They had a very old cat named Morris, like the TV cat, I didn't know what they were talking about. Colleen had planned all the classic Toronto sightseeing any child would adore. The first outing I remember was taking the subway and going to Centre Island.
We were suppose to go to the zoo, a ball game, and a bunch more amazing daytrips but I got the chicken pox. My sister was absolutely furious with me and would remind me for several years how I ruined her vacation. My aunt was so caring and wonderful during my days with her and having the chicken pox. She got all the things I needed like calamine lotion and rented every Muppets movie available.
After the chicken pox, we travelled back to North Bay but to our new home. I remember the steps, the walkway, the garage, the cedar trees, the house number (10), the window beside the big brown door. After my mom left the following spring, I remember I had a tutor that would help me with homework. When my tutor stopped coming to house after school and my sister became my babysitter is when the torment began. She was in charge of me for an hour and fifteen minutes everyday from the time I'd arrive off the bus to home until my LM parental unit(s) returned from work.
The first time my sister locked me out of the house she was very angry that I caused the fight between our parents the night before. This fight was about when pick up time was. I told the true time and my sister lied to my dad. He sided with her. He showed up half an hour earlier than the court approved scheduled time, he fought my mom verbally, she tried to block him physically by barricading the stairway with a homemade baby gate, dropped it on herself and broke her foot in the process. He took us and did not take her to the hospital.
Being locked out happened often. It wasn't always on sunny days. She started locking me out in the fall time. The rain is so bitter cold in November before it's too cold for snow. Sometimes I was lucky that the garage door would be unlocked, I could hid in there away from the elements until she'd let me back in the house mere moments before parent(s) would return home. Other days, I wasn't as lucky, I would tuck myself between the cedar and the stairs leading up to the front door to get some shelter.
In spring 1988, Colleen gifted my sister and I matching dog & cat stuffed animals. I got the beautiful, grey kitty cat with the blue bow tie with goldfish print. I adored this toy so much. One weekend at my OM's apartment, I was playing on my bike and I had my kitty in the basket on my handle bars. I made a new friend named Anna. She played with me for a while that day then we needed drinks, I rode my bike back to my balcony and went up to grab two drinks. When I returned, Anna was gone and she took the kitty stuffed animal. I was too ashamed to tell my parent that a girl pretended to be nice and stole my toy from me. It's sadder and worse because it was the only toy I got from Colleen. It was so special. And I didn't get to keep it for myself.
to be continued.
Artwork: the seven M's of Mallory. I drew what I remember the front entry of our new home in 1986... this home has warmth and brightness beaming from the windows. I'm not allowed in the house. I'm in the garage. I colored the bricks always brave because I had to be brave when I didn't need to be punished. The seven M's of Mallory are the words that help inspire me to pick my new name. The first week of January when I was suicidal, those are the seven words I felt when I was riding my emotions, remembering the feelings, the pain and sadness that the little girl who was always in survival mode, first because of the cruelty of sibling who was tormenting the girl, then the neglect and verbal abuse from parents, then from trusting relatives who selfish needs or desires unleashed indescribably psychological damage, then from toxic relationships..... Those words are so sad but for the little girl who's in the garage, who's always brave, they make a collection of beautiful French vocabulary, creative ways for her to say wallflower or elephant, it's also sad reminder to always be truthful, and those words gave inspiration for a beautiful new name that singsongs so magically. So I can forget when he(/they) said my given/birth name.