I’ll let you decide the answer to that heading. I’m dedicating a week of my blog to my hero, and my best male friend, JD Stockholm. He’s been through it all and then some. His real life nightmare begins as a child, a hurricane of madness tearing through him to leave him stranded on an island of silent death. A place where you exist alone, among the living, pretending to not be dead and yet wishing you could be. Caught between here and there, in a place called nowhere.
Now that he is broken to pieces, he is left to rebuild something he cannot begin to fathom. A normal man.
We cannot fix him no matter how much we’d love to.
We cannot go back and change the past.
We cannot murder the people who hurt him.
But what we can do is listen. And learn.
This is why he tells his story. Not only to voice the pain and the hurt and the unthinkable betrayal…but to tell us. All these years, he couldn’t tell. Now he is. We can help him heal, if we open our hearts and our minds to an ugly hard to hear thing, and listen.
You will notice that these books are told in the voice of him as a child. A voice he is still very in tune with.
His story begins with Book One: (click the book to buy it)
These excerpts will be hard to read and will depict how many people he was abused by and what sort of abuse he endured. But I want you to suck it up and listen no matter how hard it is to hear. He lived this and he needs to tell it, we need to hear it.
She made my other medicine in my cow cup. It was more runny than the day before. Runny and sticky and orange. I wondered if it tasted like oranges.
Strawberries and orange for medicine.
She put the spoon in my mouth. It nearly made my mouth explode. Maybe my eyes did pop out of my head again. I couldn’t breathe. She held my mouth shut to stop the medicine coming out because my lips didn’t want to close. My tongue burnt down my neck. It was hot and I wanted to cough. I couldn’t cough because my mum had hold of my mouth.
My neck hurt so much. I coughed nearly some more. It was like hot snot in my nose. It made my eyes cry again. My mum told me to sit on the stool. She went to the back door and smoked a cigarette.
My brother came in the kitchen. He had finished his food. He had a toy. He wanted to play. He put his car on my knee. I watched it when it rolled onto the floor. He picked it up and put it back. I let it roll off again. I didn’t want to play. I wasn’t allowed to play. He tried to give it to me again. In my hands. I pushed it away. He laughed and tried again. I don’t know why I did it. It was my badness. I kicked him. He fell on the floor and cried.
I was sorry. My mum saw. She ran and pulled me so hard with my arm maybe she was going to fling me away. She pulled my pyjama pants down and slapped my legs. I couldn’t stop it, the sickness in my tummy. It came out and made me jump. It landed on my feet. It landed on my mum’s feet. She was mad with me. The sick made my mum let go. She dropped me to the ground and stepped back.
She picked my brother up and took him into the back room. I sat in my sick. I hugged my tummy and cried because I didn’t feel well. I cried because I had been bad and my dad wouldn’t take me to the library. And I cried because it scrunched up inside.
My mum came back in the kitchen. She didn’t shout. She didn’t smack me. She didn’t talk. I didn’t move. I knew she would be more mad if I made more mess. I couldn’t be bad more. I was bad enough. She went to the kitchen sink and filled a bucket it with water. She got the cleaning powder and tipped some in the water. Then she came to me and told me to stand up. I did. She took off my pyjamas. She put them in the bucket and used them to clean the floor too.
Then she filled the sink with water and cleaning powder. The sink was big. It was like a bath. She picked me up. I tried to wriggle. The water was too hot. It hurt my feet and my legs. I screamed and cried. I tried to pick my feet up. I tried to get away from the water. She told me to shut up. She said that I had to stop making a noise because I would disturb the neighbours.
She got my cow cup and filled it with water. She poured it down my legs. I screamed at her. She slapped me and told me to stop it. I put my hands on my face to squash away the scream. I squeezed my fingers on my face. Maybe I could pull it off. When I was clean my mum lifted me out of the sink. My skin was all red. I told my mum I hated her. I told her that I wasn’t her friend any more. I said it over lots of times. I wanted her to be sad. I wanted her to cry that I wasn’t her friend. I wanted her to be sorry. I said it lots and lots, but she didn’t get sad.
The nightmare continues in book two: (click the book to buy it)
The Bad Man
I love my Mr. Ted. He is all mine and he is magic. He keeps me safe from the bad man. I hug him all tight. We sit on the floor by the fire. I don’t be allowed to sit on the chairs. I am too evil. Me and Mr. Ted like to write stories. He tells me what to write. Then I draw the pictures about it and we make it all nice. I put it in my scrap book.
My Nan bought me the scrap book. It is big and has lots of pages. It has a car on the front and my name. I write about all my stories inside it. I don’t write about the bad man though. I don’t tell anyone about the bad man. He can hear me. He reads minds. Mr. Ted keeps him away. My mum says she doesn’t want to hear about it. But the bad man makes me scared in my tummy. Mr. Ted says don’t tell anyone. If I do then the bad man will come and get me.
My mum says he’s a demon. He is from the devil like me. But I’m not a demon. I’m just evil. But my mum is going to make me all better. She gives me medicine. The medicine doesn’t get to work yet. That’s why the bad man comes at night. Then he does the hurt thing. It makes me scared. Mr. Ted says it’s a secret. The bad man bites me and scratches me. Then I don’t get away. My mum doesn’t hear me shout. The bad man makes me go to sleep.
My mum opens the back door and lets me inside. She doesn’t shout at me. The headmistress didn’t tell her. She tells me to go into the backroom and be quiet because my brother is eating. She didn’t get me any chips. I don’t want any. I am too bad to eat nice things. I don’t hug Mr. Ted. I am too bad to get Mr. Ted hugs. He doesn’t say anything about it. I sit in the corner. I can smell my brother’s chips. They have vinegar on them. They smell very nice. I get my Lego and put it on my tummy. I dig it all in to make it hurt.
My tummy gets a red line and then it bleeds. I am just a bad stupid boy that gets to be evil all the time. I won’t ever be good. My dad comes home too. I hear his big giant motorbike. Then I see the back gate open through the window and he puts his bike in the shed. My mum goes outside to the shed. She has a cigarette in her mouth. She is shouting at my dad. She shouts at him about my badness at school.
My dad comes in the house. He comes in the back room. “Stand up,” he shouts at me. I stand up and he does the stare thing. “Well?” he says. But I don’t know what I have to say. “Do you have something to tell me about school?” My tummy has the sick inside. Maybe my badness wants to come out. I don’t want to tell my dad about it. He will get all mad and then he will shout at me.
“Take your shorts off,” my dad says.
I don’t want to. I don’t want him to do the hurt thing. “I’m sorry,” I tell my dad. I can’t stop the crying from coming out. I don’t be able to help it. I tell him I won’t ever do it again. He keeps saying to take my shorts off. He says it loud and then he shouts in my face. My hands shake lots. My head wants to pop because I cry very bad. I wish my dad knew I was very sorry. I tell him lots of times. I can’t get my shorts off.
My dad grabs my arm. He pulls my shorts down and pushes me at the wall. My shorts get stuck at my monster boots. I nearly fall on the floor. I hear my dad’s belt get open. I cry and tell him I am sorry. I don’t want him to put his thing inside. He hits my bottom and my legs with his belt. It hurts very bad and I scream very loud.
My brother starts to cry too. But my dad doesn’t hit him. My dad shouts at me and tells me to stop the crying. He hits me again with his belt. He shouts lots of times for me to ‘shut the hell up.’ I bite my hand. Then I keep my cries inside. My dad puts his belt back on then he goes outside to smoke a cigarette. I hug the wall. I am sorry for being bad.
Book Three (click the book to buy it)
I would like to open with an introduction to my favorite character in both fiction and non-fiction…Stupid Boy. A failure in his mind, a hero to the world.
There was a boy. His name was Stupid Boy. He had a stupid cape and stupid boots and he looked stupid with his stupid hair. He lived in a house that was by the sea with no mum and dad because no one wanted to live with Stupid Boy.
They got to laugh at him and call him names. His mum and dad didn’t let him live in their house too because they didn’t like him. No one in the whole wide world liked Stupid Boy.
Stupid boy lived with a lady. She didn’t get to be stupid like him. She was nice and kind. She was the only one that liked Stupid Boy. Stupid Boy wanted to be like Superman. He got a cape one day and tried to fly. But the cape didn’t work because stupid boys don’t get to fly.
Stupid Boy wanted to be a secret spy. But he didn’t be able to do that because he didn’t be very good at spying on things. He had to make his stupids go away. One day, Stupid Boy and the Lady went into town to buy some things. It got to be a rainy day and Stupid Boy forgot his coat. He got all wet when the rain got through his clothes. He closed his eyes and he made a big wish. “Maybe the rain will make my stupids go away,” he said. He closed his eyes tight and then he wished the hardest he ever could.
The rain didn’t make his stupids go away. Stupid Boy and the Lady went in the shops because the Lady needed to buy food. Stupid Boy ate it all up because he was too greedy and so she had to buy more and more. Maybe the shop would sell beans. Like the ones that Jack got for his beanstalk. But not beans that were green and growed up into the sky.
Maybe beans that jumped and made Stupid Boy not be stupid any more. Stupid Boy asked the Lady for some jumping beans. She said yes and bought him some. Stupid Boy got the magic beans. But they didn’t grow beanstalks and they didn’t make him jump all the way in the sky. The beans just jumped about in his hands. Stupid Boy put them in his pocket.
When the food was all bought and then it got into bags. The Lady asked Stupid Boy if he could be a good boy and help her carry them home. Stupid Boy knew how to pretend to be a good boy. He said yes and then he got a bag and carried it. Stupid Boy’s legs got tired on the way home. He got an idea. A big fat stupid idea. He asked the Lady if he could hold her hand when they walked. She said yes. Stupid Boy held the Lady’s hand and they walked. Stupid Boy closed his eyes. Maybe he could sleepwalk and the Lady didn’t let him walk into the road.
Stupid boy stepped on the cracks. Everyone knew if you step on the cracks makes you fall and break your back. Stupid Boy falled over and bashed his knee. Stupid Boy falled over and everyone got to see. Because he was stupid. The Lady knew how to make Stupid Boy better. It didn’t be the medicine his mum got him. That didn’t work. The Lady decided that to make his stupids go away they had to chop off his head with a big axe. Then he didn’t be Stupid Boy anymore.
More of His Father
I put my pyjamas and I fold them all up and put them right in the middle so they are in the right place and I don’t get told off. Then I get my slippers and I put them with the other shoes and I make them in a nice neat line. My mum doesn’t get mad at me when everything is in the right place. Mr. Ted thinks it is good.
I go in the kitchen and then I make that all nice and tidy too. My dad tells me to sit on the chair again. He asks me if I have decided about the lesson. I shake my head. I don’t look at him. I look at my feet and then I sit on the chair and not move at all. My dad gets a bowl of cornflakes and then he puts it on the table in front of me.
He sits down in the chair that is next to me. He tells me to eat it. It is for me. I tell my dad thank you. I don’t feel hungry in my tummy. But I get the bowl and then I get the cornflakes and put some in my mouth. My mouth doesn’t want to chew it all up. I don’t be able to stop the crying from coming. It makes me not be able to eat my cereal because my mouth wants to cry and then my throat doesn’t want to swallow it. Maybe I will get the sick out of my tummy.
My dad does the stare thing. But he doesn’t have his angry face. He just stares at me. I don’t want to look at him because he is too mad at me for the glass. I am just so bad. Maybe they will send me away forever. I don’t ever be good. My dad tells me to stop the crying. I try to make it go away. I nod my head and squeeze it all away.
I sit on the chair all day long. My legs get tired and then they feel like they are invisible. I shiver because it is cold by the door. My dad says I can only move when I set the table. Then I am allowed to go to the bathroom too. My dad has a study upstairs. He sits there and reads or draws or does some work things. I don’t know if I am allowed to get off the chair. But my dad says when I have decided I have to find him and tell him.
I am scared in my tummy when I go up the stairs. Maybe he will be mad at me. But I get up there and then I knock on the door and he tells me to come in. I tell him that I have an answer. He says that’s good and tells me to wait until he is finished reading. I stand there a long time. I don’t move. My legs are sore and I try to let my feet move a little bit. My dad tells me to stand still because I am making him not be able to read his book.
I look at the clock my dad has. It is on top of the fire place. My mum got it for his birthday. It has spinning balls at the bottom and is all gold. The little hand is at the eight and then it is on the nine. It goes nearly all the way to ten. Then my dad finishes his book and he puts it down and says it is bedtime. I ask my dad if we can read a book at bedtime. Maybe I can tell him I am sorry. I squeeze myself all tight because maybe he will want to shout at me about asking.
But he says yes and it is a good idea. He tells me to go and get my pyjamas on and then get in the big bed. I do what I am told. I get in the bed. I take Mr. Ted too. I hug him all tight. I lie there and then my dad comes and he gets in bed too. I tell my dad I am sorry for the glass door. I tell him it is on accident and I don’t mean it. I say I wouldn’t ever do it again. I don’t be able to stop the crying again. I always cry like a big fat stupid baby.
I try to hug my dad too. He lets me lie on his arm. I hug him lots. Me and Mr. Ted do it. Then my dad tells me to turn around and he tells me I don’t need to cry about it. He gets the book and starts to read it and I don’t move his hand when he gets my pants off. My dad does the hurt thing. I hug Mr. Ted very tight and I am like Andrew. I am invisible and then we play.
Abuse From Strangers (Where his parents sent him)
My mum and dad say I can go to a special place for the summer time. There are lots of fun things to do. Lots of other children will be there. I get to sleep there too. Like a big giant sleepover. I don’t be able to wait. I don’t be allowed to tell lots of people about it. “They’ll think we’re made of money,” my mum says. “I don’t want people knowing what we have and getting burgled.”
I tell my mum I won’t tell anyone. Not ever. I make a big promise and cross my heart and hope to die. Stick a needle in my eye. I ask Mr. Ted about that. Maybe someone bad gets to come. Like the bad man. Then he sticks needles in my eyes for being a liar. But I don’t be. I won’t tell anyone about the fun place. It’s a secret. I tell Mr. Ted and Sheba shush about it and they do.
I get to go on Thursdays. It is summer time so I don’t have to go to school. I stay at my mum and dad’s all summer long. My mum thinks I will be bored. So the church asked her if I wanted to go to the fun summer place, and she said yes. Then I don’t get bored. My mum is very nice. My brother doesn’t get to go though. He is too little…..
…… We stand there and the man shuts the gate. They are big, giant, black gates. He gets a chain on them and a lock. My dad has chains and locks on his bikes sometimes, then maybe no one can steal them. Maybe someone wants to steal the gates. There are spikes on the top. “If anyone tries to climb over the gates, they will slip and the gates will get stuck in their bellies. They will have to stay on the gate forever,” the man says.
I don’t know why anyone will climb on them. They are very high. We go in the house. It is a big white house but it doesn’t have nice shiny windows. Not like lots of houses. It has a board. Maybe the window is smashed. Maybe that is why there gets to be a chain on the gate and a lock. They even have guard dogs. Big black dogs. They stand there with chains on their necks. But maybe they don’t have locks in them.
The other two children follow the man in the house and then maybe I have to do the same. The house smells all bad. Like hot pee. It makes my tummy want to do the turn thing. It smells like cigarettes too and the beer my dad drinks from his tin cans. I don’t know what I am supposed to do. No one tells me and I don’t want to be bad. Maybe my dad will come and shout at me about it.
There is another man there too. He takes my bag off me and throws it on a table. Then he takes my hand. The man takes me up the stairs. We get to go in a room that has a sofa and a table and a television. I don’t ever know a house that has the lounge upstairs. The man tells me to sit down and wait there. I do. I have to be good. I wish I get Mr. Ted with me or Andrew or Sheba and then we can all sit and be very good and not get in any trouble….. ****
This part of the story was very difficult for JD to write. There is a lot of shame involved here. For this reason, I’m not going to post any more of it here. It’s such a tug of war in my spirit with his books, everything in me, my instincts say burn the books, burn what they did, but then that leaves him to live and deal with the nightmares alone. If listening is what he needs, it’s the very least I can do. As a mother, a friend, a sister. But I prefer this section to not be on the public forum.
Excerpt from his final book being released in a few weeks:
Title: Goodbye Teddy (death of a broken boy, resurrection of a broken man)[subtitle mine]
“He knows if you tell lies,” my mum says. “He watches everything. That’s why he won’t go away, because you attract the evilness.”
I want my mum to shush. I hug Mr. Ted very tight. I don’t want her to talk about him. I know she means the bad man. He gets mad when I tell someone. I don’t be allowed to. Then he will come and maybe he makes everyone die. He is magic. He knows lots of things. He hears if I tell. He hears when I am bad too. Then he comes and makes it all hurt. I don’t want him to be mad. My tummy turns upside down about it and my eyes want to cry. I don’t tell lies. Not ever. I know the bad man can see everything. I tell Mr. Ted in my brain to tell the bad man I don’t tell lies.
He knows everything. He will bite and scratch me and do the hurt thing.
If I am a good boy then he doesn’t come. He doesn’t come at my Nan’s house anymore because I don’t let the badness get out. Mr. Ted and Andrew tell me when things get bad. Then I make it stop. I tell my mum I won’t tell lies. I say I promise. I make the letter P sound all big. Then it is a real promise. I feel the letter on my lips. I say it lots of times.
“Stop making stupid noises,” my mum says. But I don’t know how to make it stop. It keeps my badness away. I hug Mr. Ted more tight. Please don’t let the bad man come.
“I have a picture of him,” my mum says. “because he won’t go away. We got special people in the house who can see evil things and they set all the cameras up and then when I put you to bed, you shouted and he was there, be we didn’t see him. The people got a picture of him. They didn’t let me see because he has such a bad face. Maybe you want to see it when we get home?”
I shake my head fast. So fast maybe it makes me dizzy and falls off. I don’t ever want to look at it. Not ever. I wish would to go away. I promise I don’t tell lies.
That’s the end of the line for now. In a few weeks, JD will come out with his fourth and final book, concluding this hellacious journey. If you’re a spiritual person, I ask that you pray for his healing, and for the healing of all those like him. Also, share his work, because in doing so, you educate a multitude of an atrocity that happens behind the doors of many homes. Perhaps it will help you to recognize some of the signs and respond, or perhaps it will give you understanding of children in a way that you hadn’t before, enabling you to be a better parent. Either way, you would be helping a survivor. And helping is something we all love to do.