Break a Leg

Another beginnings story here by your lovely writing host, Claire.  Been feeling like explaining a bit more of why we don’t deal well with hospitals and Daddy.

mild trigger warning for hospitals and breaking a bone
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The body has been involved in theatre since a very young age.

Some people think that’s surprising because we have DID.  It’s actually not at all.  Our system is full of extremely outspoken and theatrical alters.  We don’t have a lot of the social anxiety that many DID systems do.  And we can seamlessly become another person. We’re quite good at that.

Anyway, there’s a common phrase in theatre said to the cast before a show to wish them luck.

“Break a leg”

It’s rather morbid, but such is the tradition of theatre people.  We are a morbid bunch.

In the summer of 2003, we were set up to do this amazing play called “The Little Prince” and we took a break for the holiday of July 4th (Independence day here in the States).

We were staying with Daddy that summer and he had invited his sister’s family to celebrate a special Century of Flight celebration that Ohio was having.
(Dayton, Ohio gets really into the whole Wright Brother’s and First in Flight thing- mostly because it’s all they can brag about…)

Our younger cousin is a bit of a slob.  She leaves her crap EVERYWHERE. That July 4th day was no different.

I believe it was Kit who was out, as she tends to handle family the best.

She trips over our cousin’s suitcase that is sticking out slightly from under the bed.  The trip has Kit falling forward rapidly, and she SLAMS the top of her foot right into the corner of the door frame.  There is a sickening crack.

Kit is gone, replaced by Rika who is cussing up a storm at the pain.

Daddy arrives and is not pleased with Rika’s mouth.  Rika disappears and Roms takes over, who can usually withstand physical pain decently. She trembles.

Daddy says “Suck it up. It’ll be fine. Don’t you dare ruin this family gathering. Act like a lady.”

Roms flees at the cruel words and Midori comes out, immediately resolving to find painkillers.  They have to be OTC, as we are only fifteen years old and not yet diagnosed with the migraines that get us access to narcotics.
She hobbles to the bathroom, shuts the door.  Daddy calls after us, “I expect you to be out within 5 minutes!”

Midori opens the medicine cabinet and finds the bottles of Tylenol, Aspirin, and Ibuprofen.  She downs a couple of each, sucking water from the faucet.  Then she takes a heavy seat on the closed toilet lid and stares at our rapidly swelling foot.

Having accomplished what she set out to do, she gives way to Rika, who cusses a couple more times before Roms gently takes the reins.  Roms sighs and waits a couple more minutes, forcing our mind to think the painkillers are enough for our foot.
Shock finally sets in and we manage to walk back into the living room and go about helping everyone prepare for fireworks that evening.

The fireworks are lovely and Armes manages to peek out briefly to see their dazzling colorful brilliance.  When they are over we struggle to our feet.

And immediately fall down again.  Kit goes far far away as the pain is excruciating and physical pain is one of her greatest triggers.

There is a brief switching frenzy as we have trouble dealing with this level of pain. It is nothing like the secret burning and slashing at our flesh we’ve done.

Someone unnamed who rarely comes out emerges.  This alter has no gender and is entirely mute.  Mute stares up at Daddy who is looking at us silently.  His expression is pondering as he considers the fact that he is surrounded by scores of people, including his own family, and cannot yell at us.  He sighs.

“I broke my arm when I was 12 years old.  It was a lot like this.  Painful, then a period of no pain, then the worse pain imaginable.” He offers.

Mute does not reply.  It is possible Mute does not even understand English.  The only times we’ve heard Mute whisper to itself, it’s been in German.

We are awkwardly put in our youngest cousin’s stroller for the ride back to the car (we are a small 15 and Daddy does not like touching us, even for assistance).  It is not the worse humiliation we’ve experienced.  Mute remains out until we are transferred to Daddy’s car for the trip to the hospital.

Then even Mute isn’t brave enough for a half hour car ride entirely alone with Daddy.

There is again a switching frenzy, and Daddy ignores us, fiddling with the radio.  He assumes it’s the simply the pain that has us so “out of it”, as he mutters.

We arrive at the hospital.

We are there for over 24 hours (it is 4th of July, a holiday celebration of explosives, leading to way too many ER necessary accidents).

We don’t remember much of it.  The combination of a hospital and being alone with Daddy has us triggered so badly that we float in and out of a sort of haze.

The bits we do remember is the initial x-ray taken has hospital doctors sending us to a “walking shoe” clinic, where we’re supposed to just be outfitted with a special kind of shoe that would allow us to go about our day-to-day lives as normally as possible.

The clinic’s doctor takes one look at our x-ray and huffs.

“Those hospital docs are idiots.  You can see here that each of your three fractures are connected to a tendon.  Therefore, my shoe would only exacerbate the fracture, eventually causing further damage as the tendons continue to pull and pull.  You need a full leg cast.”

Back to hospital.

We are outfitted with a cast.  The biggest argument and moment of coherence we experience is when we have to pick out a color for the cast. They’re out of purple, so we go with a powder blue.  The cast is awkward and forces us to hobble.

We return to the Loft Theatre where we’re rehearsing for “The Little Prince”. We get cast as the Fox and our director takes great fun in adding a subplot where the fox has been shot in the leg by a hunter and now walks with a limp.

Ironically, by the time the show opens towards the end of the summer, we’ve gotten so agile with the cast that we have to fake the limp!!

6 thoughts on “Break a Leg

  1. sleepingshadowdragon

    My dad was like that too…suck it up, it can’t hurt that bad, stop making things up. He never took my physical symptoms seriously, the fact that I constantly got sick before school as a sign that maybe something more serious was going on or that I was anxious about going to school because of who was there waiting for me (abuser #1). Dad always thought it was just me being dramatic, trying to get attention.

    The constant sprains from the undiagnosed connective tissue disorder were just me complaining, the fact I couldn’t run, the fault of me not trying hard enough. I also couldn’t explain the nerve and joint pain in a way that made sense to him. It was shoved off as simply being my imagination or “growing pains” and I was left to just suffer through on my own. I still have issues when people treat me like I’m making my physical symptoms up because it goes back to never being believed as a kid.

    Reply
    1. penpaperandcrazy Post author

      Yeah…ours isn’t really Daddy “not believing” us so much as he never wanted a kid in the first place and hates having to take care of one.
      Therefore we must *always* be a credit to him and “behave as a lady”.

      Reply
      1. penpaperandcrazy Post author

        He literally could not care less if we are hurting and really does not give an absolute shit.
        It’s only when it becomes any sort of public knowledge that he feels he has to make sure to appear as a caring father.

      2. sleepingshadowdragon

        Yeah, ouch. My father died before I started having to be so much of a lady in his eyes, but I always had battles with my father over wanting to have shorter hair, even with my hair being cut to shoulder length. One of the most violent battles I saw between my mom and dad was the one time she gave into anything I wanted and cut my hair to just longer than shoulder length when I was about eight or nine. I had to have my hair long to “really be a girl” and that mentality still screws with me since every abuser since then also had that mentality.

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