‘HOME’

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A common thread among those sexually attacked as children, and made to keep quiet about it, is the feeling of separateness. One does not have to be quiet about being hit by a truck. Childhood sexual abuse is a taboo subject, even now in the modern era.

Confusion, undue shame, fears, and so much more from the sexual attacks during childhood. grows as the child grows.  She is given no love, support or help. Instead she is ostracized if she dare speak of it, compounding the wounds, melding them into her personality’s make-up. She becomes shame as if she is so shameful she no longer belongs. This is the destruction, not the abuse, but what comes after..or doesn’t come. 

One can begin to find relief by sharing and bringing it out in the open in the hopes it is received with loving acceptance. Some never do because a child feels shame that is not the child’s, yet she retains it and it grows with her.

Even if one is lucky and courageous enough to speak about these things with the right person, or on a blog, or with a therapist, the years of keeping it in changes the little girl now grown into a woman. For me it has.

It is very difficult to find my voice, feel my feelings, or take good care of myself. I am foreign to my own being. Finding my center, my ‘home’, that place inside that others live in so easily, is a place I’ve lived apart from and have a hard time nestling into and staying.

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Finding My Way Back ‘Home’

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Authentic? Adele mentioned it. I take it as becoming authentic once again within myself. I haven’t been. I’ve been in pursuit of approval. Taking a week at the lake was finding out if Stevie was still talking to me. I spoke up for once in my life and said ‘NO’ about something. And I talked of my past. Then acted like, “I’m sorry I was abused. Will you still talk to me?”

No one has ever thought that pliable, pleasing me would do more than a lump of Play-Doh—be molded. So my fear has run me, and run me from my own self. I need to get back to what it is that makes me feel good about me.

Not worries of what others want, need, think of me, or prod me to do. I need to find my way back ‘home.’ I’ve lost that safety, that place to reside where no matter what happens I am alright because I have me to care for me.

Do I want to really go have coffee with Don? No I don’t. Do I want to send hollow emails to Seth with photos? No, I don’t. Do I want to go back to the lake to be able to see Stevie again? No, he can come here next time. And he will, he uses my home as a pit stop when the need arises.   

Do I want to feel alright with me and what I think of me…yes I do.

I get stuck with a thought or a worry and it can take months to move off it. This past mind loop has been brothers I thought I could relate to as the woman I am now. And the woman I am now is connected to her past not running from it. If they can’t or won’t hear how my present problems relate to past problems, then why bother. Why bother because that is fake.

Adele’s one-liner put me back on track. She says, “Have coffee or whatever but go with what is now.”

But Adele, now is then too. If that is the case then why would I want to? It is more of the same, playing the game of silence. And I won’t do it.

I need to careful about Adele or anyone like her, any therapist. I easily put them on a place higher than me then put more weight on their opinions than my own. I easily become the child, them the parent. I don’t intend to lose myself while finding myself. I don’t intend to get dependent on her or anyone else.

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GRACE

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Sunbeams spill through the tree branches burning off the low laying fog as tears fall with the first sip of coffee while I waken. A child within beseeches why? Why weren’t you there, why didn’t you help, why won’t you help me now? She will always be there asking within me, needing listening to, but not giving up control to.

It is immediately helpful having Adele, a fresh pair of eyes, another perspective, even if the listener is twenty years my junior. I am not to lay my life at another’s feet. Now I have a path.

If I want to interact with siblings do so where we are now. They didn’t help me then, then won’t help me now. And the little girl hurts deeply. She always will. I  will always carry that hurt.

I can do it. I’ve done it successfully long term and not long ago, found my center, my groundednes, before running down this lost path. I’ll do it again. I already am. I had lost the will to do what I do, dig into each day and make it the best day. I became lost for months.

Now I’ve been found…

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TOM

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Sipping coffee on the porch watching the morning sun rays stream through the trees, I wonder about the crimes within a family that go unpunished. The crimes a little girl suffers then contains the rest of her life. Tom, the eldest, is revered by the others. I would ask Stevie, Seth and Don, “Would you be so friendly with Tom if he had crept up in the night and committed oral sex on your daughters?”

It wasn’t the act itself that caused so much distress in my life, but what came after. His years of barbs and put-downs so craftily interjected that the others either didn’t notice or ignored. As if it were all OK, including the abuse; the attack in the night when my little brother and I were allowed to sleep on the couch falling asleep watching the Christmas tree lights. A sweet innocent event soiling the rest of my life.

Because Tom hated me after that. I was a reminder of what he had done.

FAMILY?

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Part of the trauma of childhood sexual abuse is the silence. Be quiet. Keep all that in on tiny shoulders. Love the ones who attack you. I think it is more traumatizing that the attacks themselves, each one an attack on my little body taking a bit of me each time. Though after a while it became a part of my daily life, it mattered, each taking away a piece of me until little was left but a shell.

I hoped to finally share the truth of my life. I cannot. I have to continue to act a certain way because if I don’t an edge comes into the voice of a brother I thought I loved. Don’t you dare. I’ll abandon you, intimidate you, and silence you with a mean voice and hard edged eyes. And each of three does this in their own way, and has perfected ways to silence me. One uses protests of poverty then takes a cruise to Alaska. I am easily manipulated. 

Is that love? Is it love when pressured to play a part, act as if the very fact that I experienced traumas is something I have to continue to be silent about for your comfort, shielding you from?

This is ingrained into a child at the time. Be quiet, take it in as yours, and the only thing that matters is the comfort of others. I’m 63 and still feel I need to keep quiet to brothers because they do not want to hear or know what their other brothers did. Each want to continue to interact with the only one left, Tom, as if he did not do what he did. Don’t interfere with that. 

I feel victimized and ostracized, muzzled and afraid. I have every right to scream out my pain, but I still keep it in because they don’t and won’t hear. I lack whatever it is that allows honesty and quietly stating my own truths. Each has a way of acting nasty which scares me if I dare even hint at any of my pain and past tragedies when a child

In November while hospitalized for 4 days I thought it was the end. My husband, and sons were there for me. No one else. And I was OK with that.  I realized during that time that the three out of seven who did not touch me sexually, who I considered ‘family’, are not. They are not there for me, not really. Or only if I pretend because talking about my real life is not allowed.

Their rules, not mine. And I live by them, or did until I let the link out for my book. I began regretting that I did that. I’ve lived quite peacefully since publishing SHATTERED and with a full life. But now I feel bad and small, just as I always used to.

I wait for someone to step up and apologize with true sorrow. That’s what I wait for but it never comes. Not from any of them. Yet I keep in contact with each one, playing the part. 

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ONE NIGHT STAND

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Samuel rested on the couch after working that day, one of five allowed each month without exceeding the limit that would interfere with retirement.

“We should check out the campground at the lake before Labor Day. After that the beaches are closed,” I said.

He answered, “OK,” surprising me.

I thought a moment, then asked, “Tomorrow?”

The weather forecast had just finished predicting a stretch of two perfect hot days leading Samuel again to say, “OK.”

I think we are lovers of one night stands, one night away is enough for both of us. It is easy to throw a few things in the fridge and overnight bags, and off we go.

We found a lovely spot overlooking the lake, so expansive that if you didn’t know you’d think it an ocean.

We played Euchre and for once I beat him, game after game. He lit the charcoal to cook burgers while I steamed the corn. We watched the fire after the spectacular sunset then I read until sleepy. 

In the morning we canoed in the boggy area by the lake, then sat on the beach watching swimmers. Samuel cooled off in the water but I stayed in the shade. It is always nice to come home. 

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TOMATO TIME

Since retiring, Samuel has taken over the garden with great results that keep me busy in the kitchen…The entire house fills with the aroma of oregano and fresh garden herbs simmering in a sauce!

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