Up until the time that I went to the police to finally begin to bring an end the chapter of my life that had been dominated by my nightmare, I had told 4 people and each of them reacted differently and yet the same. They were all good friends of mine and they all had demonstrated an instinctive protectiveness that seemed to have sprung up out of nowhere. They all wanted to protect me from any further abuse and to hold me as though to shield me from myself and my memories. And at the same time, they expressed a deep rooted anger -- anger at a person that they had never met or hardly knew. They all wanted to hurt him in some way, and I found myself counseling them to not spring to action. What would be the good of breaking his legs, or breaking every bone in his body or having him watch himself be emasculated? To what end purpose would that serve. He would have the external scars, but I would still have my mental scars and barriers, and it would not ever erase what he had done to me.
I had wanted to tell someone for so long, and when I finally did, it didn?t necessarily make me feel better, but I did feel that it was okay to say it out loud and that I wasn?t crazy. I also felt that I was finally done with silently sharing my pain with the thousands of other daughters, sisters, and wives that had also been through the same nightmare that had been going on for too long. Too long because no one wants to hear a dirty secret -- unless it?s about someone else and if it is not about incest. I went over what I wanted to say, over and over in my head, until it spun around like a record on high speed -- spewing out words and emotions everywhere. And then I had to start again.
When I did come to the decision to stop hiding and start living, I was living an another city across the country from the rest of my family -- that somehow made it easier.... My mother said if I came forward and spoke out, that it would ruin my father's reputation. My sister said that she wanted me to wait until after her wedding. I didn?t talk to them for a year and half. I felt like an orphan. I still don?t know what and if the rest of the ?family? knows or if I should even say something. I have lived with the secret this long and kept it from all of them -- why not wait until I die.
What I miss the most is the feeling of security. I never felt safe. I would go to bed at night and dread going to sleep because I didn?t want... I didn?t want to go through the same macabre drama again, night after night, year after year. Sometimes I would think that it wasn?t really all that bad compared to the atrocities suffered by other little girls around the world. But I wasn?t them, and they didn?t sleep in my bed and for that matter, neither did I. I?m not saying that I wanted the fairy tale childhood, but is it really too much to expect that a little girl should feel safe in her own home, in her own bed?
Have you ever fallen asleep and wanted to wake up as another person? I had grandiose dreams about waking up in a pink flowery canopy bed, in my own room that was one of many, in a very large house far, far away from wherever I happened to be living at the time. I could go to sleep in that bed and not worry about someone saying "psst hey, are you awake?" And then feeling a weight on top of me even though I was pretending to be sleeping. In that bed, I didn?t have to tuck my nightgown tightly around me so that no one could unwrap me as I was sleeping. In that bed, I was a normal little girl with dreams of being a doctor. A little girl who had never known the rough and hurried touch of her brother.
Even when I was awake, I would spend a lot of my time daydreaming. Transposing myself into the lives of famous movie stars. I would cover my school books with their pictures, maybe in the hopes that if I was surrounded by their materialness, then maybe some movie magic dust would rub off on me and I could take off, leaving my nightmare behind. I didn?t realize at the time that movie stars were real people that had real people problems. They all suffered from their own demons of some shape or form. But what I did know was that they were powerful and beautiful, and they always had happy endings.
When I was in school, I used to do anything for my friends. I was a schoolwork prostitute. I would do my ?friends? homework in the hopes that they would let me hang out with them. I never felt that I was worthy to receive their friendship, no matter how honestly offered. Even now, I bring home-baked goods to work with me and offer to do things for people -- so that I will feel like I have earned their friendship. But all I end up feeling is used. I have always felt like used goods -- someone already had me before I was ready to give myself away.
I spent all my teen years desperately looking for someone to love me and when I finally felt that I had -- I woke up one day, alone. He said that he was in love with another woman. His selfishness only affirmed my thoughts that no one would ever love me, that no one would ever want me. I continued after that, stuck in a self destructive pattern of self deception and loneliness through several boyfriends, lovers, and over way too many drinks, not realizing that I was letting myself be abused all over again. I had let them all take a little piece of me until there was almost nothing left. Even though, all along, I had the power as an adult woman to stop them, to stop being their one nighter or score.
I didn?t have that same power as a child. It took me long time to come to the point where I finally believed that I didn?t have to shove my breasts in a guy's face or strut my stuff in a skimpy skirt and t-shirt for someone to truly love me. All I had to do was show some respect for myself.
It is an uncharted perspective for me to look back on the events and with the wisdom that I have gained from my young life, a wisdom that I have certainly earned every right to call my own. I will always wonder what kind of person I would have turned out to be had I not been subjected to those experiences. I do know that I would not have turned to so many other people in search of love. I think that I would have loved myself a lot more and I would be more comfortable with the person that I am instead of finding fault in all my actions, thoughts, and feelings. Self criticism is a powerful weapon and I have not, as yet, mastered control. I have spent most of my life feeling that I have to live the adage that a child should be seen and not heard. Don?t say a word. This is our secret. Promise you won't tell.
I wish that he had not taken my childhood away from me. I want to know what the touch of another human is like without recalling images of him. He soils everything that should be good about every relationship that I have ever had. He is always there -- an ever lingering and evil presence that I can?t seem to shake off. I try to pretend, to ignore it, but it is like denying my own existence. I am it and it is me -- there is no difference, no separation. I feel like I am twins in one body. There is the me that is there, that everyone knows. and then there is her -- the one that no one ever sees.
I know that my sister had been through the same things and I wanted her help. But she said that she had gone to a counselor and was trying to forget the whole thing. Forgetting was not a option for me, and the counselors that I had seen wanted me to find my inner child or to focus on forgiveness. How can you forgive someone like that? I might one day, but I really didn?t think that forgiveness was an option too. He has a beautiful daughter. How would I feel if one day I found that the terrible legacy had continued on with her? How could I look her in the eye and tell her that I had forgiven and forgotten?
I know what kind of a person that I am now, but I?m really not sure of my persona as a child. I would hide behind who I thought I should be in order to protect the person I desperately wanted to be. When my brother came to me -- it wasn?t the real me that he was with -- I morphed into an empty shell so that I wouldn?t feel pain, so that I wouldn?t have any thoughts or feelings . As an empty ?person? there was no risk of him getting to the little girl -- she could stay deep inside the woman that he had prematurely turned me into. I wasn?t ready for that role, and it was easier to just pack her up like a spare pair of clothes and put her away along with everything that had happened to her -- not to me.
Questions. I will always have questions -- questions that weren?t answered by him saying that he was lonely and insecure. Did that give him the right to abuse me? I want to know who taught him that I was an okay out for his frustrations and insecurities. Who gave him permission to treat his little sister like the girl you pay for on the corner?
I wonder who else would listen to me? When I meet someone, I wonder if I should tell them. Will they treat me differently? Will they still want to be my friend? I have abandonment issues, and problems with self esteem and self confidence. Do they? Or would they care if they knew? What if the same thing happened to them? Are they a card carrying member of the silent secret club?
This story does not have a happy ending -- it doesn?t even have an ending at all. This story is my life and I will keep living.
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