Chapter 1

Izalita

(Note:this is obviously the fictional version of chapter one before I began to edit into memoir)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~PART I ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
She has always perceived Izalita’s life as better than her own and in that jealousy has said and done things which caused immense pain and therefore rendered it untrue as well. Two days before Izalita’s ‘big day’ and, once again, her mother was having a mental breakdown, lashing out fits of jealousy aimed at her heart, crushing her soul and confusing her head.
Chapter 1
7/5/7 ~~ 58 Hours before the Wedding
I do not own a gun. Guns terrify me, as they should, because they make death far too quick and effortless to come to fruition. Death should not be something which can be brought about instantaneously. If I owned a gun, I would use it; Most likely, I would use it on myself. For this reason, I do not own a gun.
My sister’s husband owns a gun. I know the correct term is ‘brother-in-law’, but he is not my brother in any way, shape or form. I wonder if he ever considers using it. He owns one because he is in the military. I guess this gives him the moral authority to own a gun.
I assume this is the reason my mother allows him to keep the gun in her home; one of the ‘good guys.’ Although, I distinctly remember her forbidding husbands two and four from keeping their guns in her home and husband number four was a cop.
I guess I should back up here and explain that my mother has been married and divorced five times. She is currently on husband number 6. However, he will not last long. There is nothing wrong with the man, personally. My mother just has an expiration date on marriages. After the 4th year, she gets an ‘itch’ and begins looking for the next husband.
Nicole Marie Caruso-Miller-Riccardi-Taylor-Johnson-McKinney-Sullivan, also known as Nica, is on a constant quest for ‘happiness’ which is ironic considering how unhappy she makes everyone in her trajectory. I should know better than to take any marriage advice from her. However, she is my mother and this particular day, two days before my wedding and I was feeling vulnerable and her words were stinging more so than normal.
…..
“Everyone knows you shouldn’t be getting married, people will be whispering, pointing and shaking their heads as you walk down the aisle…. is that really what you want?” She continued as I sniffed on the other end of the line. I was attempting to hide my tears, grateful to be on the phone until my stuffy nose gave me away as I attempted to suck it all up, in more ways than one. “Honestly, no one would be the least bit surprised if you called the whole thing off. We would all support you. He doesn’t love you… not the way you should be loved. You don’t even know what real love is, you’re too young.”
“But… Nicole was only 20 when she married Chris!” I responded to the most ridiculous thing she said, out of the many. “I’m 22!”
“Do not bring your sister into this, she was sick, and Chrissy was taking care of her… it’s completely different!” She whipped back. I struck a nerve which I usually avoided if I could. Talking to her about my sister Nicole and golden-boy, son-she-never-had Chrissy was dangerous territory, but obviously necessary right now.
“Taking care of her? They live in your house and he didn’t even have a job when they got married. Paul and I have been living on our own since we were 18… we’ve been engaged for 3 years now and waited until I was done with school like you wanted… and…” I tried to summon up more courage as my tears turned from sadness to anger. “… and he pays for me to go to school. He literally takes care of me. We’ve waited long enough and I’m not cancelling the wedding two days before.”
“Like I said, don’t bring your sister into this. It was completely different. We all loved Chris and were happy to welcome him into the family.” She continued and now, began to truly break my heart. “Nobody likes Paul, you know your sister won’t even call the house after 5pm because she doesn’t want to get stuck talking to him. Chris told me the reason you guys don’t hang out anymore is because they can’t stand him. Chris says all the time how you can do so much better. We all just want what’s best for you, honey.”
Flabbergasted, my throat began to swell up and ache from the tears I was attempting to keep inside. The pit in my stomach felt like an endless hole, sucking my heart from my chest one painful drop of blood at a time. I could feel the surge of blood rushing up my neck so forceful and fast, I was certain my head would explode. My hand was shaking as I tried to light a cigarette. Cigarettes always dry up the tears. They dry up the tears and push the lump in my throat back down. I don’t even attempt to speak again until I finish one long and glorious drag.
“Hello, Izalita, are you still there?” She thought I’d hung up. I should have.
Feeling safe enough to speak without crying again, I finally answer, “Yes, I’m here and I hear you… everyone hates Paul and we shouldn’t get married.”
When I heard her deep breath before she said, “Look…” I knew she was about to begin round two. So, I snapped my phone shut and threw it on the ground. I needed a break. I’m not proud to say this, but hanging up on my mom, feels so good, at times like this. Plus, it is the only way to for me to get control of the conversation, control of anything.
Two days before what should be the best day of my life and I feel, once again, like I would be better off dead than have to deal with facing the disapproval of my entire family. I tried to picture it, the shaking heads and pointing fingers. I, also, tried to figure out the process of actually cancelling the wedding. Would I have to call everyone myself? How could I do that? I could not, but if I didn’t, what would happen? Everyone would show up and just wait for me. No, that would be even more embarrassing and rude.
My sister, Nicole, named after my mother, was knocking on my door as I frantically searched for a new pack of cigarettes. When she was born, my mother was married to the ‘love of her life’ and together, they planned to have only one, perfect child. Because her father, Henry, died in a car crash when she was only 3 months old, my mother never had the chance to tire of him or cheat on him. His death caused him to become a martyr in the eye of my mother. Nicole was a martyr by proxy.
Although, she never got in the middle of our actual fights, she always came afterwards as part of the clean-up crew. I didn’t even say anything as I opened the door crying. After a long hug, she stepped back and asked, “you okay?”
“If I could find my cigarettes, then maybe” I answered with a crackly voice still trying my hardest to hold back the tears.
“Here” she handed me the pack in her hand, always prepared, and lit it for me as well. “So, what did she say after I left? I only heard the beginning, then headed over.”
The cigarette was beginning to do its job desiccating the tears. Through a stuffy nose and a puff of smoke, I answered, “…oh nothing much, you know… just that you guys don’t think I should marry Paul.”
“What? Why would she say that, oh Iza, it’s not true! Mom is just stressed out because she must make the final payment for the wedding tomorrow. She’s been working double shifts at Famished Fanny’s to make enough money. That’s all. It’s her turn to pay. It’s not about you at all!” She tried to reassure me.
“But… But she said you don’t even call the house after 5pm because you don’t want to talk to him?” I asked, trying to remember everything my mother said, feeling even more confused.
“No, that’s not what I said. Yes, I told her I don’t like calling at night because I know you’re cooking dinner and spending time together. She either misunderstood me or is just lying to make her point. You can’t trust her. Do you remember what Nana use to say? Mom has always been so jealous of you. You’re so smart and beautiful. You just finished college and you’re about to marry the first and only man you’ve ever loved, two things she can only wish for herself.” My grandmother, sister and more recently my school counselor told me that my mother acted in ways that seemed to stem from jealously. However, I could not wrap my head around that concept and therefore did not believe it. Perhaps I didn’t want to believe it. Could a mother really be so jealous of her own daughter that she would undermine or even sabotage her happiness? I didn’t want to believe so. Living in a world like that seemed hopeless and although I have struggled to grab it in bits and pieces, I have always tried my hardest to hold onto hope. Without it, I haven’t much else.
My sister snapped me back out of my thoughts and returned me to my smoky living room. “Please, don’t let her get to you. It’s all about the money…. Iza … do you remember what she said 6 months ago when it was your father’s turn to make the down payment?”

Get out of my head!!!!!

Ugh… every time I try to sit down and write, I hear my mother’s words,

“no one cares!” — about reading a memoir written by me (well MOM, my current editor and publisher beg to differ because they read it…LOVED it and said that many people will, in fact CARE!!

Just because you don’t

… doesn’t mean others won’t!!

Get the fuck Up, Out my head

… you won’t ruin this one, again, one which you haven’t even Read!!

The saddest thing I’ve ever read was the poetry book I found that I wrote when I was 12-13 years old…. I was writing poems on a daily basis… about love, friendship, school, Cheer, my teddy bear.. anything and everything I cared about… I would write these rhyming, flowing poems/raps about everything & I remember it all coming to me so easy and I remember all of my friends loving to hear them… I remember when I read them to my dad and his wife… she cried… she asked how I could write something so “deep and moving” at such a young age… & she told me I would be a writer someday.. something I hadn’t even considered… this gave me the courage & confidence to finally read them to you….

I forgot the way you laughed at me… how you told me that writers make no money and I would never be a writer.. to give up that dream now… I forgot all of that until I read this poetry book and the poem called “hope” which is about how quickly someone can take your hope.

That was the last poem I wrote in that book… the following journal entry was about how I couldn’t write anymore poems.. I was trying and trying and I couldn’t make anything rhyme. So, instead I just wrote one last journal entry about how you had just hit me over the head with a bible, whilst screaming that I needed to “be nicer to my sister” when all I had done was try to switch bedrooms with her… I was tired of living in the moldy, dark basement, feeling like I wasn’t part of the family… but, when you got home and found her crying down there… saying she was scared and didn’t want her room down there… you beat the shit out of me… in front of my boyfriend & friends who had helped me rearrange the rooms (which …by the way… she agreed to & said nothing to us about changing her mind)

You have always protected her with a fierce and violent rage …. so, imagine my fear now… I have to tell the world something that could… no, something that SHOULD majorly alter her life!!

Her husband is a cheater!! And worse… he is a rapist!! Her husband violently raped me, repeatedly & due to years, upon years of growing up in a house that was always violently biased to protect her at all costs.. I knew that I could not tell anyone.. I knew that you, nor her would believe me… and I knew it would end what little we had left of the thing I try to call family!

The most fucked up part… I’ve told people.. I have written my story and I am believed.. my story is wanted.. they think they can sell this story and I STILL HEAR YOUR WORDS IN MY HEAD!!

“No one will care”… no one will believe me.. I will lose everything.. well, guess what?? He’s already taken everything I care about.. he’s already taken you and her and her kids that I was pressured to help raise, yet never treated as family… only as a babysitter… I have already lost you all… so, I ask you this now??

What do I have left to lose???

Why am I actually considering changing my name and not putting my name and my face on MY book?? On MY STORY!?!

Ps-to any of the 73, 431 people out there that have already read this blog… what should I do?? Should I change my name?? Should I stay hidden when I publish this memoir?? Or should I be brave and just tell the world the truth?? I need help.. I need advice here… you can private message me if you prefer as so many of you have already done.. and let me know what you think!?!

Thank you all for the support and love you have already sent my way.. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to know I am no longer alone… to know that you have listened to my story and that you believe me… it means more than words could ever describe so I won’t even bother trying!

Gratefully,

“Izalita” –for now 😉

This is Really Happening!?!

I heard back from the publisher and they are interested in my book….HOWEVER… they want me to turn my fictionalized version into a memoir… they said “the passion and clarity appear more so in certain chapters which we believe are the chapters based on the true story. We know you must have enjoyed writing the fantastical ending, however, if you could rewrite this into a memoir and focus on your true story, we believe this would be a more relatable therefore more sellable book.”

Holy fucking shit… so… this is happening… they want the true story!?! The only problem!?! My real story has such a shitty ending right now…

“And for the last few years, I have been hiding and living in silence.. scared to tell my truth.. the end”

It was so much more rewarding to kill the bad guy… but, at the same time… I can see how that is not as believable. Fuck me…. I’ve got to figure out how to write this as a memoir that doesn’t completely fuck up all the innocent people in my life… my kids and my sister’s kids…..

Changing my name is a start, right??

Hi… my name is, now officially, Izalita Ricardi, nice to meet you!!

For the sake of discussing everyone from here on out… I’ll tell you the character names in the book which will be the names I use in the memoir….

My moms name is Nicole (aka Nica)

My sister’s name is also Nicole (yes, named after my mother… in hopes that she would be her one and only perfect child and the perfect mold of herself)

My sister’s husbands name is Chris (aka Chrissy)

And although they were not in the original fictional version of the story… I assume, my daughters might have to be included in the memoir… even if not… I will continue to discuss them in this blog.. so, my daughters names are

Savanna (aka V– long story;) (18 years old) &

Camille (aka Cami) (15 years old)

I guess that’s all for now… I’ll give other people names as needed… but, just as a general disclaimer… as you’re reading this blog and in the future, my memoir, understand that all names have been changed in order to protect the truly innocent human beings (children) because they don’t deserve to know about any of this until the time is right. This is the reason I have stayed silent for so long.. but, I’m so happy I found an editor and (now-I can’t fucking believe it) a PUBLISHER.. that will help me tell my TRUE story while still keeping me and all 4 kids that I love more than myself safe in the process!!

Feeling truly grateful right now!! Which… I must admit… it’s been awhile since I’ve felt this way… I usually say thank you to the universe for the little things in life like the puppy finally shitting outside or my black thumb finally growing fresh basil… it’s been awhile since I’ve had something really BIG to be grateful about and hopeful for!! THANK YOU!!

#MeToo anniversary

On the anniversary of the MeToo movement… where really big-names, important woman came out publicly about sexual harassment and/or rape by unrelated males… this no-one, unimportant woman is internally debating when and how to come forward about being raped by her brother-in-law…. wondering whether anyone would even care.. or believe her… wondering how it could effect her family.. her life.. or worse… if it didn’t… if she came forward and everything stayed exactly the same… nothing changed… no one cares…

Then what would happen?? What could be worse than be raped?? Hmmm… how about being raped and being forced into silence for fear that no one would believe you… or worse.. even if they did believe you.. they simply wouldn’t care… speaking from first hand experience, I can tell you… the latter is worse!

So… happy anniversary MeToo Movement!! Thank you to all the brave women that came before me & gave me the courage to come forward with my story.. perhaps.. maybe.. someday… and an even bigger thanks to those of you that can and will understand the years I spent in silence… I carried the burden of that weight upon my shoulders to protect, not only myself… but, all of the other members of my family that weren’t ready for the truth. I carried that weight and broke my back trying with every ounce of physical ability I had left to hide this secret to maintain the last bit of false pretense “family” that we had left.

I

Tried

My

Hardest

But…, the family fell apart anyway… because deep down he always knew this was coming.. he always knew the truth would surface and in preparation for this day… he convinced my family that I was the bad guy.. that I was the crazy one… he knew this day would come… and because he worked so hard to prepare… he pushed everyone away from me already, therefore… I have nothing left to lose!!

Don’t think he prepared for this…

oh

Fucking

Well

Here… I … am…. I am woman… hear my TRUTH

I was, raped

violently and

repeatedly by

my sister’s husband…

in an attempt to escape the abuse…

I packed up and moved to WV…

to protect myself and my daughters… I fled

Now…. I have been living in silence so suffocating that I no longer speak to anyone besides my daughters… days… weeks.. months and now YEARS… have gone by without a single person calling to check on me… I have disappeared into a hole of silence surrounded by walls of shame and when I look up.. I see a small sliver of light… barely… it’s more like a tiny star… barely visible to the naked eye… but, if I take out my microscope (aka… my computer) and I look closely (aka… write)… I can see it.. I can see the twinkling star in the sky… and I know… that is HOPE…

I

Have

HOPE

I hope I do anyway

What (not) to do when your child is sick…

 

I’ve struggled with this concept for many years & I really can’t figure out how my mother takes such good care of one of her daughters (allowing her to move back home after only living on her own for 3 years) with her husband and children, while completely ignoring her other daughter…. the daughter that is SICK, SINGLE & has two teenage daughters. How… How does she justify her unfair treatment? How does she leave my children alone in the hospital while I’m fighting off serious illness… literally fighting for my life with no one by my bedside other than my two young daughters.. and fuck me… how does she leave THEM (my daughters) alone… while I’m sick???

The only reason I can come up with?!?!….

…. because I’m an “addict” … remember?? See yesterday’s post please… and then, read below…

I think my mother denies my illness and justifies this behavior because she thinks I’m an addict… but, let me ask you this!?!

How could I be an addict? I have two teenage daughters that are with me 24/7, literally… especially in the summer time. We are all, always together… Do you think they’d notice if their mother was high? Not to mention, my eldest daughter and I share the same bank & she has access to my bank account. She can see, each and every month, that every penny I have goes to bills and taking care of them. I cannot remember the last time I bought myself new socks, much less went out “partying” or anything even close to adult-fun.

The whispers behind my back make me sad and worried because I had an aunt… lets call her Aunt “Mindy” and she died a few years ago and my mother & grandmother constantly whispered behind her back and said she was an addict too. The truth is, I don’t know if she was. She was a sweet and loving woman and I just think my mother didn’t like her. So, they talked shit about her behind her back and barely spoke to her. She was the black sheep of the family. Everyone turned their back on her & therefore, her children. I don’t know how/why she died, but I can’t help but feel like if she had more support from her family… she may have lived.

 

because…… Even if it was TRUE!?! Even if I was an ADDICT!?! Their response to this is to leave me alone in WV!?! To leave my daughters ALONE with me in WV!?! That is the response to a family member being an addict!?!

NO…

… my mother went to the NIH, to the family support groups for people dealing with my illness … she knows exactly what I am going through!! Which is why… until HE moved into her house… she was helping me and the girls as much as she could… and then slowly… year by year… that help grew smaller and smaller until BOOM…

eEaster 2018… yell at me for no reason.. cut us off.. (what little help she did provide which by that point was ONLY paying for the Girls homecoming/prom dresses and paying for Cheer/dance fees…. but, that was too much and right before my eldest daughter was about to graduate from HS… she told her that she had NOT even paid the dance fees throughout the year that she claimed to pay, nor help with her prom dress.. inevitably leaving me struggling and broke right as she was graduating.. making her last few months of HS beyond stressful & when we should have been celebrating her graduation & acceptance into a University in the fall!!…. instead we were blindsided by the sudden, huge payments that needed to be made in order for her to graduate… I knew my mother had the ability to sabotage my happiness, as she has done so many times… but, I never knew she would do this to her first granddaughter!!

and why??….b/c according to her……  I deserve it!?!

The girls deserve it!?! (Because they shouldn’t have asked to see their cousins–the only ACTUAL reason she gave us!!) ..

we all deserve THIS…????

abandonment!?! Why??

THINK ON THAT… and then reread yesterday’s post one more time…

I am not an addict!

I am sick…

even if you want to pretend I’m not…

and neither me nor my daughters deserve any of the shit you and HIM have thrown our way!!

And you FUCKING KNOW IT!!!

The other dark-side of the opioid epidemic….

For everyone out there taking pain medication, as prescribed… yet, hiding in the shadows in shame due to the recent press about the opioid epidemic… you’re not alone.

I have an illness which causes constant daily pain due to literal deteriorating holes in my bones… and which causes occasional, sudden and severe full body, intense painful episodes also known as sickle cell pain crisis. I have a rare hereditary blood disorder called sickle-beta thalassemia anemia.

Due to this, in order to function as a normal human being.. in order to get out of bed every morning.. I am prescribed pain medication…. oh wait.. I’m sorry, I’m on “drugs”!!

I have been at the same pain specialist for nearly 7 years… I have been on the same regime of medication for 5. Yes, it took a few years to find the right one/dosage … but, for the last 5 years.. I have been on the same medication.

In those 7 years, I have never once.. ran out early, had my medicine “stolen”, “lost” or whatever other reason addicts come up with to go to the doctors early and get more medicine. In fact, most months, I have extra pills at home because I haven’t taken all of my medicine & one time, I had so much extra medication in my possession that I went down to the police station to, safely, throw away the extra/expired medication.

Each month, I have to pee for my doctor.. proving that, not only, do I have the appropriate amount of the medication in my system, but I also don’t have any other medications and/or illicit drugs which I am not suppose to have in my system.

You can not go to the same doctors for 7plus years and be an addict! I don’t “doctor hop”.. I don’t exhibit any signs and/or symptoms of an addict.. YET, just because I am prescribed and take medications which other people abuse… I must be an addict!?!

Call me crazy… but, I don’t think that’s fair!?! I also don’t think that’s correct.. There is a huge difference to being physically dependent on medication and being an addict and with the media coverage of the “epidemic” … I think those of us who have to use pain medicine in order to live normal lives, are being unfairly shamed into the corners of society.. even into the corners of our own families.

Moral of the story… don’t judge a book by a cover nor a person by their medicine cabinet. Not everyone prescribed pain meds abuse said prescription & physical dependence is not the same as addiction.

If you are a responsible patient, following doctors orders and doing your best to live your best life… you are not alone & shouldn’t let close-minded, judgmental people shame you into silence about your illness or condition.

At the same time… if you do need help… don’t be scared to ask!

Click here for resources to find help!!

…. because I am in, no way, advocating the use of opioids if they are not needed!! I do understand that many people suffer from addiction and if you are one of them… click the link above and please find the help you need!

I am simply sharing my own personal story & asking you not to judge me or anyone else in my situation… or any situation for that matter. Have compassion for everyone… we all have a story. I’m simply trying to share mine & hopefully let someone else out there know… YOU ARE NOT ALONE…. because I know I’m tired of feeling like I am & I wish someone would say it to me ;?)

Gaslighting

I was so happy to see this quote stating that “blocking” is another form of gaslighting!! My sister’s husband has been gaslighting me and my family for over a decade now and this latest thing.. blocking me and my daughters from their social media and phones is just one last way of controlling the conversation. I know exactly why he did it too…. He must know that now that he has taken my family completely from me… Now that they all screwed over my daughter so hard during her graduation and graduation party (forcing her to cancel it since NO family would be attending). He must know that the TRUTH is about to come out. I have nothing left to lose!!