This could have been me, so listen up.
My name is Daryas. I’m 41 years of age and an alcoholic. I love beer. Pretty much any kind of beer but my favorite kind is pale ale. I drink a six pack every day, just about, but I’m trying to taper off to quitting. One thing I learned from Crystal is this: it’s better to just quit and lay in a pool of vomit for five days.
My life hasn’t been easy. Far from it. I was fostered in violence. I was adopted by a couple when I was just 8 years old. I was abandoned at age three by a crack whore and her drug addict boyfriend, sent into foster care ever since. I was “fortunate,” being adopted by my first foster family.
I put the word fortunate in quotes up there because it shaped the rest of my life, sadly. I have a lot of psychological issues, as you might be able to guess, due to being abandoned and violated in many ways, including my mother drinking alcohol while I was yet to be born. Due to my father, her boyfriend, shooting up and getting violent with me. He raped me. He wasn’t the last, but he was the first.
I was taken away from them, really, I realized later. But, when you’re three years old, you see it as them leaving you behind no matter how dire the circumstances are that you are escaping from. Unfortunately, my new foster dad was cut from the same cloth, minus the drug addiction. Instead, he drank beer and grew angry, argumentative, and violent. He, too, raped me, but he was the last.
I shot him for violating me. I was young — thirteen at the time. He was a hunter and had taught me to hunt. I guess he never thought about how I might end him for hurting me endlessly. Now, in my old age, I’d guess he was violated by his own dad. He survived just long enough to pass on the abuse to the next generation. I’m not going to continue the cycle of abuse, but not because his wife sent me to jail for getting rid of the scumbag.
He was nice enough when he wasn’t giving into Satan. I found God while I was in jail. I was there for a long time, being tried as an adult instead of a minor. And now, I’m a felon that can’t hardly get a job or even find good housing. I’m discriminated against in every way because the facts are the facts: I murdered a man in “cold blood.” Forget that there’s a reason for it… the law doesn’t care. It enjoys locking people up for extreme violence and throwing the key away, not even bringing psychologists into the jail to actually help people. That’d really do more for inmates than people walking around with billy clubs and tasers to stop violent arguments and fights. The closest thing you get to it is religion, sadly.
Crystal is an angel, if you ask me. She doesn’t hold this against me at all. At least, not this one. She might when we get to the rest of my story, but… she already knows that violence begets violence. Once you’re in jail, especially serving the sentence as an adult when you’re actually a minor, you get beat up. If it’s not physical, it’s psychological. Anything for someone else to feel like they are a bigger gorilla. I mean… man. Yeah, that’s what I meant. The bigger man.
Jail is just full of neanderthals trying to be the bigger, badder dog so they don’t have to be violated with violence. They get caught in a cycle of it, learning to solve problems with their fists instead of their brains. They’re shortchanged, and I was especially so, serving an adult sentence as a minor. I got some schooling while this occurred, but the socialization with other violent, vile, and vulgar criminals encouraged me to be like them instead of like everyone else in the world: a compassionate, polite, and respectful kind of soul like Crystal.
I probably would not have the O.C.D. that is driving Crystal crazy as she writes out my story so I can see it in words. (ANGEL. She’s an absolute angel!)
I digressed. Because I was lumped together with the outcasts of society, I found myself making more and more choices to be exactly like them. Choices that would lead me back to jail a few more times before I saw the light. I’m a convicted rapist. One of my victims committed suicide and I was tried for manslaughter for that. I accepted a plea bargain because I was convinced that I was guilty as charged.
Getting to know Crystal has made me realize that I’m not guilty of manslaughter. Her logic is so superior to any other individual’s, I can’t even begin to tell you. If your soul is heavy from misdeeds, she will make you feel better, no matter what you did. She doesn’t even do it on purpose, honestly. It’s just that her viewpoint is humanitarian in nature, believing all people are partially to blame in every incident and situation.
Although the woman died, thanks in part to the crime I committed, she was ultimately the one who controlled whether or not she stayed alive. She chose to end her existence by herself. There are tons of support programs for rape victims and even former rapists trying to become better people. There are psychologists around every corner these days. There are ways to get help. Ultimately, it is Lynn’s fault for ending her own life instead of seeking therapy and counseling. There are hotlines for those who feel suicidal (800-273-8255 if you need help — no matter is too great or small for these folks) and there are so many things one can do other than suicide.
For instance, she could have held me accountable. She could have told me what I did wrong. I wouldn’t have liked it, but I would have owned it. I would have felt responsible because I took that action, I chose to rape her, and in my heart of hearts, I knew it was wrong. It never sat well with me, the sexual encounter in question. It was semi-violent and rough and I regret it completely.
I don’t just regret it because of how she handled it. I regret it because it hurt me to do it. Rape hurts both the rapist and the raped. It’s an awful thing that becomes a cycle of habit, sadly. I decided to break that cycle, too, while I was behind bars again. I got around to wondering if I’d ever get to simply live my life because of these two incidents. They were essentially back to back.
I realized at some point, I was emulating what I’d seen and heard about in prison the first time around. I hope you’ll believe me when I say I never wanted to hurt a soul in my life, not truly. I was violently abused by my blood relatives and my fosters. I came around to thinking violence is just an everyday part of life. You either got caught or you didn’t.
I’ve learned since then that is not the case. I cry often because Crystal is my messiah. She told me all about her life and all I can do is weep. And, when I’m not weeping, I’m in awe. She never once turned to violence even though she had very similar circumstances. Nothing outside of scratching or slapping someone, anyway. These are very normal actions to tell people to get away when they won’t respect your boundaries.
I never had that reprieve. I was never fortunate to grow up with my siblings to learn any other way from them, instead pried away from my natural parents due to the abuse. Someone in our apartment complex had figured out we were being abused, myself and my older brother who is now 43, and called Child Protective Services. They ripped us away from our original caregivers, who, although violent, were just as abusive as the foster parents I was placed with.
It was apples to apples. I know that old biddy was just trying to help us, trying to improve our lives, but my bio-dad was never into guns. I believe if I’d never picked up a gun, I would not have killed anyone. A man and a woman would still be alive today if she’d never made the call to C.P.S. At least, that’s my perspective on it all.
Instead, I would have been more like Crystal. I would have adapted to the malevolent nature of my parents and figured out how to manipulate them to find sanctuary in the home somewhere — namely, my own room. In the foster house, going to my room was an invitation for Bill to come and rape me. I don’t know how my mother failed to notice her husband left at random intervals, ending up in my room without an explanation. Or that he’d have to jump in the shower frequently to wash his sins away.
She was an angel, I thought. My foster mother. She was so kind and attentive to my needs, making it less than completely awful, but the facts are he raped me multiple times a week. My only conclusion — especially after getting to know Crystal — is that my foster parent had to know. Deep down. Even if she didn’t want to acknowledge it, she turned a blind eye to the symptoms of the abuse. More than likely, she herself was being abused. I’m certain she was being raped because I witnessed it once myself. They’d failed to shut their bedroom door once and I could hear her whimpering in pain as he violated her anally.
She had become a willing victim, in the end. I wouldn’t have gone to jail if she hadn’t pressed charges against me. It probably would have been less traumatizing for her if she hadn’t been asleep next to Bill when I shot him in the head. I needed to stop the rape. I needed reprieve from the abuse. I was in physical pain and mental anguish because I was being violated against my will. He’d violated me for a decade before I shot him.
Since I was a scrawny kid, I knew he would overpower me in an instant if he knew what was coming. I didn’t know my rights as a child. Neither did Crystal, actually, which is how I knew I’d have a different outcome if I’d never been taught how to use a rifle. I’d like to think I’d be much more like her instead of the person I became thanks to Bill and Mary.
Since he only had hunting rifles, there was no way to hide what would come. After we’d gone hunting that year, when I was 13, he’d left the rifle case unlocked. I decided to take my chance, thinking it may well be the last time I could ‘defend’ myself. I snuck into his den, took the rifle, and then tiptoed into his bedroom. This is not the first time I ever tried this, but it was the first time I succeeded. Every other time, he’d wake up and smack me around to prove his dominance and lock the rifle back up. Honestly, I didn’t even think I’d get the chance to follow through.
I stared at him, lying in bed asleep, for a half hour, thinking he’d wake up any time to hurt me and stop me. He didn’t. She woke up with a scream as the gunshot rang out, horrified completely as she discovered her husband no longer had a face. It scarred me deeply to do it, if I’m completely honest. I replay the trauma frequently. Nothing makes it stop. Well, one thing does. Crystal. She helps me remember I’m a human being, not just an animal that did animal things in response to forming extremely maladaptive behaviors. (“Maladaptive behavior can be viewed as a negative form of behavior which harms the individual.“)
In short, I was taught to kill. I was taught to murder. To disrespect life and boundaries of those around me. I wasn’t born that way. No. I was born as an innocent, just like you were. No matter what you’ve done, you were innocent once in your life. People patterned you to misbehave. How Crystal escaped from the clutches of the patterns in her family is beyond me. That’s why I call her my messiah.
She could be yours, too, but I got here first. Get in line, chump!