Episode One – The Trauma Of The Past Freezes The Freedom
Of The Future of Justin Blackburn’s novel The Bisexual Christian Suburban Failure Enlightening Bipolar Blues
Trigger Warning- Child Abuse/Sexual Abuse
Listen to the audio of Episode One Below…Copy n Paste that shit
The Sunday School Class sings, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.” I love singing. I love Jesus. Jesus loves us all no matter what.
It’s big church time. I sit with my family as adults scream, beg Jesus to heal them. They throw themselves at the altar. The preacher puts hands on their heads. They flail, flap, and fall over. They scare me. I don’t want to be like them when I grow up. I want to be like Jesus.
“Jesus is beautiful.” I say to my father.
“NO, HE’S NOT!” His face solidifies with horror. “Jesus is Lord! He’s feared and respected. Women are beautiful son… not men.”
“But the feelings I feel when I see a woman are like when I see Jesus.” He flings me over his shoulder. He carries me to the basement of County Line Baptist Church. His Bible Belt is off now. He throws me over his knee. He whips me. I’m screaming, begging, crying. I’m 6.
Hey umm so how do you make peace with the past?
School day. Mrs. Perkinson yells at Marcus to go to the time out chair. Marcus insists he wasn’t talking. He wasn’t. It was Alison. Marcus is the only black kid in class. Mrs. Perkinson blames him for everything. Marcus walks to the corner. He puts his head down. Awww… Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.
I walk to the corner. I hug his shoulders. I kiss the top of Marcus’ head. Zach shouts “Brian’s queer!” The class laughs loud. Mrs. Perkinson takes me to the principal’s office. My father shows up steaming. He carries me to his car. He beats me with his belt. Jesus loves the little children…all the children of the world
My father drives me to a camp called God’s Choice. During the day my white khaki Christian counselor informs me God punishes all gays with AIDS and HELL. He shows pics of men with Aids dying. He acts out men burning for eternity. He leads me to an empty room, ties me to a chair. He plays films of men violent, raping. He tases me till I refuse to close my eyes. At night he takes me to the woods and tou…no,no,no,no,no,no,no can’t go back there, I’m 9.
Science class. Bullies say if I don’t drown the hamster in the fish tank they’re calling my father to tell him I suck dick. Gerald is my only friend but I can’t stand up for myself. The little hamster, Gerald, he dies. I take a scalpel to the bathroom. I slit my wrists. I’m a fucking murderer. I deserve the death penalty. I’m twelve.
Finally, a human friend. He’s not the nicest at school but after we chill. Don’t tell no one but last night he kissed me. He wants me to meet him in the woods after class. I wait, excited, we might be toge…sweet here he co…wait…that’s not him…it’s his older brother…older brother’s friends? Run! I’m beaten/buried/fifteen.
17 now, crying in my room. My father opens the door, says I can either stop being a queer, go to his alma mater, join his frat or be disowned to the streets.
18, blindfolded in the woods, goddammit, I hate college, hate living a lie, my frat ‘brothers’ step on my Adam’s Apple while pouring beer down my throat, I choke. Is this what acceptance feels like?
I’m twenty one, not attending frat parties much. I wake with the sun, yoga, meditate. I read everything I can on who Jesus truly is! I feel better than ever! I know I am Loved Unconditionally by the God within us all! It is time to be honest with my dad. I drive down a highway. I open a door. In the living room now my father is choking me, he takes my keys, says if I come back he’ll kill me.
IT’S RIGHT NOW TRAUMA Pacing Trauma Taking Trauma Causing Trauma Effecting Trauma PANICKING Trauma ATTACKING ME!!!!!!! I’m LOCKED in a mental institution FREAKING the FUCK OUT! My memories are magnets making the same shit happen to me over and over and over and over me and over and over again and I can’t stop thinking about them. Help! Jesus loves the little children all the children of the world… so why does the world destroy them? Jesus didn’t die for your sins but you will.
Hey…how do you make peace with the past when it is present still, when the trauma feels more real?
Sorry, embarrassing, you don’t need to answer. My trauma=my responsibility to heal, not yours but…I am in need of a friend right…shit, you think I’m a meth addict. No offense if your cousin is or you are. I got locked in a mental institution. Every morning I wake to panic attacking me cause I don’t know if I’m ever getting out. Then a rush of traumatic memories I’ll never escape start molesting me like that fuc…nevermind. It’s just real hard functioning in society with PTSD alone, you know?
We are born as one powerful stream of consciousness then society gets hold of us and splits our energy into a million different sewers. Before we know it we’ve lost connection to where we came from. All my past trauma that split my energy is rushing through my harddrive 24/7/365. I’m scared…for my life.
Don’t worry, I don’t need you to donate to my gofundme, I just, can you be around me for a little while? Just listen and not judge me? Sorry if I’m asking too much but compassion from another soul is all you need sometimes. You can say no but we all have trauma. It’s keeping us from living the magnificent life we are born to. I’m in the dark process of confronting to heal mine so when your suffering finally hits the fan and you want to change, I’ll be on the other side to help you.
What a manipulative shitty sales pitch…sorry…but can you still just please be here for me…oh my God, thank you so much! All I need is a gentle ear and I’ll be all good. If I get too scattered, let me know and I’ll calm down. So just relax, get you an ice water, put lemon in it and chill. I’m over here in a loony bin freaking out but don’t worry I won’t infect you…fuck…I’m still stuck in here….
“I’m never getting out, never getting out, nevergettingout, I’m never getting out, never…”
“Careful Brian, the Law of Attraction controlling our universe states…our thoughts create our reality.” Karl Kelly, one of the five locked up for believing they’re Jesus, says as I suffer my morning ritual mental institution panic attack.
“Oh, Jesus? So my thoughts made my bff call the cops, why they brought me here, and my thoughts made my parents homophobic?” Please don’t judge, I promise normally I’m too sweet/timid to speak confrontationally to anyone especially the Lord as I’m Christian but I’ve been locked up too long for no reason, my patience is anorexic.
“Why yes, they did.” No offense God but Jesus Carl is a dick.
“Then why did your thoughts bring you to the insane asylum?”
“I needed a vacation from the true insane asylum… society.”
“That’s dumb, why didn’t you just go to Maui?”
“I don’t want to leave a carbon footprint.”
“Whatever.” I mutter, hiding my face. Loony bins are so creepy, nothing healing here. Place needs a juice bar, jukebox, and art even if it was from Target. Man, I feel real bad for being mean to Karl. Real Jesus says love your neighbor. I try to live that. I never want to look down on another, I know too much how that feels.
“Sorry Car, I, I mean Jesus, I just don’t how know much more I can…”
“Take your meds, Mr. Willermen.” Nurse Alisha spouts, strolling in to my room with pill palms and a tiny cup of water. “You didn’t take them again this morning.”
“Bbbut please Nurse Alisha…I,I,I don’t want to.”
“Mr. Willermen, for someone with mental illness, a disease like Bipolar Disorder, your meds make you better.” At the risk of sounding like a YouTube conspiracy theorist, I’m not Bipolar. It isn’t my mania talking. I’m not refuting your Bipolar. Just me, I…as a kid didn’t like sports, steak, cried, and felt the pain of the world. In Two-Bit-Brain-Cell-Bible Belt, Alabama that’s different, meaning wrong, meaning bullied, meaning made me more withdrawn, meaning more wrong, crazy, diseased, when they were the mentally ill ones. It seems like I’m projecting but I don’t feel diseased. I have lots of trauma they put on me and I don’t deal with it healthily cause it gives me panic attacks.
“Bbbbut, I don’t like how they make me feel.”
“Mr. Willermen, take your meds and you will feel better.” Did you not see that? She totally ignored what I said. They don’t treat us like humans here, might as well change my name to Bye Polar cause they view everything I do through that lens. You’re depressed cause we locked you up? You’re Bipolar! You’re afraid cause we don’t treat you like a human being…Bipolar. You don’t enjoy living in a violent, bigoted world…that’s your Bipolar talking.
“But Nurse Alisha I, I don’t want to feel numbed out, robot better. I want to feel breathing fresh air, not locked in a mental institution better.”
“Would you like me to get Dr. Berman, Mr. Willermen?” I sigh.
“No! I, I’d like you to hear what I’m saying… to you!” Nurse Alisha turns to imply getting the Dr. “Fine.” I suck, always giving into people’s bullshit, the minute I’m threatened is the second I comply.
“Good thinking, Mr. Willermen.” No it is not good thinking! I hate me! Fuck…FYI…um, I’m bout to do this thing where I talk to Jesus though he’s not here physically. No big deal, he’s just my savior thing, it’s like praying but people have seen me do it and got weirded out so I’m warning you. Here goes…Jesus, forgive me, I want to walk with your love but it feels impossible with this much hatred. I know, I know love one another as I’ve loved you but I hate how she calls me Mr. Willermen, I’m not the GD princip…DUDE calm down, NO! I hate more how she complements me for doing what I’m threatened into. I hate even more I live in a world where no one gives a fuck about me. I fucking hate even more how I’m swallowing these goddamn pills. FUCK these side effects-numbness constipation/braincummingcheesepuffs… “Mr. Willermen, you’re late for Morning Group Therapy,.”
I hate group more. “I know, I know bbbut do,do you mind if I,I,I skip…just today?” Is it hard asking for you to ask for what you want?
“Mr. Willermen, for you it is mandatory.”
“How’s listening to depressed people talk about how depressed they are helping when it only makes me more depressed?”
“Mr. Willermen, this is not up for discussion.”
“Nurse Alisha, Human Soul to Human Soul, can’t you see we need ones who makes us feel cared for rather than uniforms carrying notebooks of diagnoses?” How the fuck are these people called nurses and doctors part of the healing process? You can’t just put a label on my trauma, shove a pill down its throat, throw it back into its subconscious, and pretend you’re helping. We’re still human beings! Are we? Yes, we’ve just been broken down by abuse without given the tools to build ourselves back up. The trauma fried our nervous systems and now is living for us! It is choosing our thoughts, our jobs, our Gods, our fears, what we eat for fucking dinner. You have to make us feel loved, safe…take us out of our trauma first. But if you’re unknowingly stuck in your trauma, how the fuck can you help mine? Fucking stupid backwards ass world.
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