HUNGER

Photos by Patricia (bluebird baby)

Having to pretend since age 8 that the horrors suffered weren’t real, it became customary for me to stuff them away. That took a lot of food, food that mother loved to cook then see others eat. Weight gain, up and down since age 8.

Even mangling my inner organs to be normal. That pleased my mother who told me about the magical operation.

She left out the part that meant intense pain for hours, and countless episodes on the bathroom floor hoping to upchuck the extra teaspoon of food swallowed. What was left of my stomach was  a tiny pouch with only enough room for a tablespoon or so of food.

That is a problem for a person accustomed to using food as an escape from the body, and had since age 8 when my mother’s cure for the first terrifying attack was to stuff with me food. And if my mother’s love was at the end of a spoon it was better than nothing.

To be in my body now is a revelation. Not realizing that my entire life has been an escape, the exploration into this brings up empathy unfounded in my own inner workings. Because usually there is harshness, blame, and self-castigation. Compassion has begun to blossom.

To go through all that all alone. To suffer like that all alone, except for a mother on the side-lines always making it worse because she didn’t want a fat daughter. So she put me in fashion shows, and beauty contests, and then as an adult excitedly telling me about this operation which years later put me in the hospital due to internal bleeding where the inexperienced surgeon make his cuts to rearrange my internal organs.

It was never about weight, but about pain suppressed. About a little girl alone whose only resource was eating because you readily pushed food, loved to cook, and loved even more to see it eaten.

Mom, normal is to feel. Normal is to go to your daughter’s aid and keep any son from attacking me again. It doesn’t matter if you’re left a widow with 8 kids, you’re story over and over again whenever trying to tell you how angry I was at you and why.

You could have 20 kids, just stop and do the right thing. No more attacks, and don’t tell your little daughter who is crying hot tears down her cheeks, that if it ever happens again to tell you. Of course I wouldn’t, too ashamed to do so. As if I had the power to stop it by telling you. YOU STOP IT.

So food became an escape from the body as other sons took what they wanted. And I became more and more invisible as my body got larger. And that was 60 years ago but the same methods of not feeling are still being used.

Yet beauty occurs, that of feeling deep down inside with peace not tsunamis. I can go there and be OK, better than OK. Still tentatively trying it out, but more and more comfortable being there. It is a beautiful thing, one others live daily without question. But for a trauma survivor it is a new place to be that brings wholeness, peace, and love for self.

Instead of self-repugnance for a too big body since childhood, there is the beginnings of understanding and compassion. Food is used to numb, to not be in the body. I have not understood just how terrifying my childhood was. That leaving the body became the norm when my body was attacked, not the other way around which is really the norm when living childhood without trauma.

Without intervention or release of the agony inside me, I ate for the next sixty years. Even when the stomach was butchered into a tiny pouch- I ate. I had to, even though it meant long periods wrapped about the toilet on the cold tile floor. There was still interaction with ‘family’ acting like I loved them because that’s what was required. Of course I ate.

It is a new beginning where food is eaten out of hunger, not all the other hungers, but true physical hunger. And that only begins to happen when love and compassion are heard inside of me filling the ragged holes that food once filled. That is not the head or brain… that is the soul hungry for love.

Little Girl Me

My Secret Garden

Running out of THC has caused sleepless nights with groggy days due to having to take other medication for sleep. CBD oil on its own does not work. An added bonus unrealized until the whole plant oil ran out was my legs and how much better they work.

Huffing up the meadow hill, or even just around the house, painful aches with stiffness became highly noticeable. How can this simple oil be so helpful in so many ways? The rat brain cycle kicks in, that of negativity, round and round, over and over again.

The little girl at eight, all alone when loved ones attacked, growing to believe it was all my fault. The loud voice of blame attacking me by day as brothers attacked at night. Those voices bang loudly again.

Despair knocks as tears fall. Going through years of sleeplessness again after months when the miracle of sleep was blessed upon me is untenable. 

“I cannot handle this,” weeping without wanting to while telling Samuel about yet again another sleepless night needing to take a sleep aid.

Samuel says, “You can get a prescription!”

“No, I tried on-line,” crying more, defeated, adding, “It is too hard, and too complicated.”

“It’s not,” he said. “I looked. All you have to do is find a provider. Fill out an application, pay the fee, get a card, then you buy it from a New York dispensary.”

Tears fall more. He had already been on the computer after the first rush of tears when I’d left the room. The tenderness towards him touched a very deep place covered with mistrust put in place years ago.

The only way to survive was to protect what was left after brothers obliterated the essence of me. The spark nestled beneath layers of iron needed protection, a tiny ember below all the doubt, fear, and surety of the destruction to come.

Not the virus, though that can kill, but people. My life has been about fear of people. Because little girl me learned early what people can do.

DEMONS

Finally, after many complaints about pain in various areas of my mouth, and after many suggestions of needing a mouth guard by the dentist, one was purchased last year. And the mysterious aches went away. If only I knew. If only I’d paid heed to the suggestions.

But a mouth guard? Samuel needed one but he ground his teeth in the night so loudly I could hear it. But I didn’t grind my teeth. It wasn’t until the hygienist used the word clench did I begin to think a mouth guard might be appropriate for me.

Clench my jaw? That might be a possibility as I must face many demons in my sleep, slaying them one by one, over and over again.

“Can I breathe with one in? Will I choke?” I ask her fearfully.

 The dentist replied, “I have never heard of that. There are many on the market that are inexpensive. Try one. If you have trouble we can fit you with one here.”

So I did, warming it in the microwave as the directions outlined, then fitting it to the top teeth. It fits perfectly, stays in, no choking or other irritant, and voila, no more mysterious pains.

Little had I known. I wish I had known years ago before the first gum surgery when the unskilled dentist took the tissue down severely because he wasn’t a specialist, but wanted my business and the money.

Then the next, a specialist.

During the procedure she said, “Oops. That’s OK,” knifing through to the upper sinus cavity having to put mesh there as a protector between the two places.

Oops?

Then yet another surgery where the new periodontist was up on modern procedures using cadaver tissue to regenerate new growth. Unfortunately that was also at the same time the area’s tissue bank faced charges of collecting uncertified tissue putting patients at great risk. Was mine OK? Turns out it was OK. 

It was the next procedure that made me decide no matter how many teeth fall out, no more surgeries. My terror was so great that on that way there I kept popping Xanax. She had to give oxygen during the surgery, later telling my husband I should have a breathing apparatus for snoring.

No, I don’t need one of those. I need you to stop digging around in my gums with your knife. I could have killed myself with those little white pills used out of terror for going through a procedure where she did not answer questions, and shouldn’t have been doing it anyway. In her haste she proceeded, and I let her.

All those terrifying experiences could have been avoided with a mouth guard long ago. Of course monsters appear when I sleep. What happened as a child is being reenacted, this time  I am victor. My strength is all powerful.

My greatest soul need has been to smash their filthy hands off me. To be the power. To smash their faces away that were so close I couldn’t breathe or ever feel comfortable with closeness  again. In my dreams I fearlessly conquer.  What I couldn’t do then, I do now. 

 

MEDICINE

Being so different can cause a rejection of self, the countering voice of rationality so needed but rarely the first voice I hear. Awake yet again, the banging critic starts in but cut off immediately with a wiser gentler voice… it is not your fault. Don’t do that, do not blame yourself for this continual inability to sleep. Perhaps a resistance has built up towards the CBD oil.

Still my mind goes over the day. It was different from other days where my being feels as if it stays together quietly without disruption.

Samuel insisted that no new carpet be purchased without painting the walls. This was 8 months ago. I was fine with the walls, especially after scrubbing them down. The new color, picked by me, is still yellow but bright enough to require sunglasses.

Dam you Samuel. I’d love to blame him, as I’ve tended to do in all the years of our marriage. Someone needed to pay for my pain.

But this time, (I’ve grown see?) the responsibility is mine because I elbowed him away while choosing the color. Still the habit of blaming him remains, this time resisted. He just finished painting so out we go to find a rug.  At the home improvement store the newly hired sales kid was exasperating.

While working with this very young inexperienced clerk, with huge rocks in his earlobes stretching holes in them over an inch wide, my eyes kept staring in wonderment. Quite quickly a manager was called after the third, “I don’t know,” in response to our very basic questions. 

The manager was older, and with lazy slowness coughed up a few details of interest, though his demeanor suggested total disinterest. As Samuel worked through pricing I mentioned the many ads posted in repeated succession about free installation that neither were aware of.

“Oh yeah,” both sales associates proclaimed, as if being aware of what they really weren’t aware of.

We collected what scarce information we could heading back home for a breather. Then out again to another store. While this salesperson gave us the spiel, my eyes focused on her super long yellow fake finger nails that motioned avidly while she talked.  

We went back to the original store buying the carpet from the boy with the fascinating earlobes. Again a manager was called to walk him through it. 

By this time my system felt as if on divided over-drive… the body, the head, and the heart. But really, can’t a person spend a day shopping with her husband? I didn’t heed those feelings early on when one store was most likely enough for one day. We drove to one end of the county, to the other end, then back again.

Not falling asleep, the tossing and turning hated so much began. By 2 AM a second dose of Xanax was needed. The doubling of CBD oil tried first had no effect. It is medicine, you need it, but detesting the need. The improved self-talk comforted slightly with soft bits of gentle kindness.

Sleeplessness is not my fault, no matter how many avenues are driven down to see where my mistakes might be. Perhaps one store per day could have circumvented the sleeplessness. Though that thought arose early on, the idea was rejected preferring instead to just get the job done. Who knows what the reason is on any certain sleepless night.

Perhaps the real culprit it is the sham of our president committing serious amoral crimes getting away with it over, and over again. Trump, who likes to grab at other’s pussy’s, has always been one of the monsters of my childhood.

The sadness behind his ability to get away with countless crimes,  and being a living container of all that is evil in the human race, ignites into anger. Then sadness wrapped in hopelessness descends once again. Are my hopes and beliefs of good winning over evil gone?

Perhaps there is no reason other than this life of mine means living with the effects of PTSD made permanent because no intervention was provided early on after repeated traumas.   

My nervous system is busted, and cannot take too much stimulation, especially too many interactions with others. That is acutely taxing, more than I willingly admit or accept. Around others my antennae rise sharply. Are you lying, being real, or falsifying like the fake ‘trial’ happening here in America? Can you be trusted?

No, the answer is no. We all lie, or at least fudge the truth when it’s beneficial to oneself, and I cannot take it. I never will be able to. After the gum thrown down the hall, and the ensuing (almost) rape, Chet tackled my body then thrusting his penis up and down my eight year old vagina after managing to yank my pants down.

Sex was introduced to my child self with violence. Sex from then on was forever linked with force. That has never changed. Trust for any human being was forever gone. And gone too, a wholeness of being that came with my birth irrevocably shattered. 

I fought at him unable to breath. Breath was chosen over fighting after that. 

“Here,” he said, holding up a pack of gum that used to come in a box with pillow shaped gum squares. Chicklets, peppermint Chicklets.

The box was empty. Picking it up with dismay he slammed into me with a body much larger than mine, suffocating me. Trust will never come again. Like most other challenges before me, gentleness and kindness are far better thought patterns than the harsh critical bully.  

Monsters Don’t Die

Monsters don’t die, they live in my neurons ready to attack. A sudden sound, even Samuel entering a room without hearing the approaching footsteps makes my adrenaline shoot clanging the warning sirens. In the quiet alone, the vast stillness in the house waiting…

Monsters don’t die, they live on. Chet’s kidnapping of my freedom, a toy, a thing, a little captive now grown still trying to untangle the chains of childhood. Shame kept me silent, and he knew it. Though living in a house with seven brothers and a mother, his attacks were as if thousands miles away trapped in a hut with only his disgusting manipulating force.

I want to kill him, though he is already dead. No one to save me, no one would help me. Hostages grow close to their captors. His death did not undo that. They are never gone, the ones who attacked me. They lie waiting to destroy, even as worms eat their rotted flesh in the dirt they are buried in.These are the feelings denied all my life because my mother insisted on niceness— sugar without spice. 

They are never gone. The most violent attack by Dan remains repressed, inside deeply subconscious, yet there in all its horror. Raymond once said, “So what if you don’t remember?”

So what? What is that if it came up all the symptoms of PTSD would magically disappear. And of course that isn’t true. The cure comes in kindness towards self, so hard for a personality shaped by believing my needs don’t matter or even exist. A fake life forced with the silence, the authentic one still rising. 

When a child is sexually attacked by loved ones, the ones that know, and the ones who committed the crimes do not want the child to talk. No one provides attention or care, not even medical care. The shame that one of their own has done this means sacrifice the child, controlled by more manipulations and implied threats of abandonment through shunning. The life meant to be gone.  

I learned what happened didn’t, like painting white over black. Life was dazed by trauma and terror, and still I lived with the monsters who attacked in the night. I was to love them. Love was never to safely come again, not for adults. Rare moments occur with children who have not yet learned deceitfulness, and all pets. Pretending became my reality. 

Progress is made in recognizing my needs with compassion, though numbing also continues  without knowing why. 

 

TRUE NATURE

Planning Christmas kept my sanity in the darkest month, now the wait for spring as each day becomes longer.

“Look,” Samuel says, “It is 5 and still light out!”

Looking outside I reply excitedly, “Wow, you’re right!”

My drudge through the dark months is proceeding with better management and brighter outcomes, though it takes work; disciplined habits including full spectrum lights, meditation, better diet, and daily exercise.

The uplift from exercise is curative, even moderate exercise such as walking or gentle movements on the elliptical. But it takes a push to go do it.

The food thing is harder as food is used to medicate PTSD issues that resulted from childhood sexual attacks by loved ones. Alone, stuck with it, and no one to burst the bubble of excruciating pain, it grew as I grew.

That beast stayed. The beast of self-hate, but compassion is slowly moving in as part of me steps back and notices that my use of food is not born out of laziness, lack of character, or that I don’t love, care, or respect myself.

It is self-care that turned to me food at age eight, bent over the toilet in the middle of the night vomiting up the food my mother pushed towards me in place of what I really needed.

Food was her love. My little body couldn’t take it, but it was all there was to numb the horror of what my brothers did and kept doing… the ones I loved so much and trusted.

Food is still used to medicate. To eat out of hunger is not usual. To eat to numb is. Hating myself for failing to be thin is a societal rule. Yet it also is a survival tool that sustains my life in the only way I know how. 

Turning to food saved me. It saves me now. It squelches PTSD symptoms by focusing my attention to how full it feels to the point of pain. Liking the pain because I’m so used to it. The other hurts too much to feel. 

The hurt of a family turning their backs, going on as if nothing happened. What about that pain? It is easier to go along with them. Sure I love you too. You did so much for me.

Donny did allow me to move in with his family because my mother’s drinking had adverse effects. I got a job, joined the Army, met Samuel. My life began. Don saved me at a time when I really needed saving. 

But what about when I was 8? You came into the bathroom at the sound of my screams while I was in the tub.

I said, “It hurts down there.”

What did you do then? Nothing. No one did anything. Not Seth either who I said to directly at the time, “Danny fucked me.” Just looks of horror in his eyes which to an eight year old meant I was the horror.

I want to ask these questions, but never will, though some was in an email to Seth causing more separation than closeness.  

Each day starts out, listen to my body. It will tell you what you need. By the end of the day the impulse to eat when not hungry for food, but ravenous for love, wins out. It blots out all other needs, and helps me hate myself.

A quiet voice whispers, perhaps it is self-caring, what you have done since the age of 8. A rumbling vibrates deep down in a space that is not bone, blood or tissue… a place that is ethereal, one where my true nature resides. The work is connecting, and staying connected.   

The SCHISM

There is a fear of being in my body and staying there. Others seem to check in with their body unconsciously knowing when there is hunger, fullness, cold, pain, and the list goes. Often I’ve checked out.

My fear is internal, also unconscious, yet the terror is there laying wait. Perhaps the rape, repressed, causes this schism between body and mind. Perhaps it is the next couple of years after that when the others took what they wanted.

Coming ‘home’ and staying is fleeting. Zoning in a place other than the here and now still is comforting at times. It takes energy to breath, notice my hand as it washes the dishes, and be among the living.

After time, it becomes easier to be present, yet that far off place still calls, still offers comfort, and still owns me some of the time. And the disconnect, the fissure from the body that others don’t have to deal with yet take for granted, it still a force to be reckoned with.

Wholeness is fleeting, but necessary to take good care of body, mind, spirit, and soul. I may be different, alone in many ways, but still shine. We all offer a specialness no one else can; the tree in the forest set apart from others but still beautiful. 

 

LOVE?

Swallowing Vit C throughout the day has not deterred this cold, probably caught by the grand-children Saturday. Waking at 3 AM, it took work to stay put and go back to sleep till 5.

Thoughts whirled. If you can’t control thoughts, you’re in big trouble, a line, or one similar to it from the Julia Roberts movie, Eat, Love, Pray.

So OK. Flip side to side, then lay flat concentrating on the breath some more. Thoughts quieted, sleep came, albeit interrupted, it came.

With the usual rocking by the fire sipping fresh coffee, thoughts arise. How lucky my life is despite all the struggles. Sons love me, grand-children too, and Samuel, a man unfortunate enough to have a wife almost incapable of love.

Love can be thought of, but rarely felt. There is a glimmer of love deep in the tunnels where it flickers protected. For myself, for others. But it is not accessed easily like most who are trusting, warm, and open.

How could it be out in the open where that kernel of essence could be completely annihilated? When all that was precious shattered, the only whole fragment left  lay in the vault of a vault, so walled in no one gets at it, even safe ones, even me.

It is as it is due to what was done, no fault of my own. It does mean I cannot love or feel love, but do so only in the safety of aloneness where I can think of you without you near me. There love flows.

 

Finding the Light

The repeated traumas as a child of 8, 9, 10, 11, caused a severe ripping inside me, though one sexual attack by an older sibling was enough to cause the life-long rift. And by attack, physical force was not always necessary. There are many ways to ‘attack’ a child that are just as destructive as force.

All that was precious was shattered, and there was no going back to the whole that was. A life has been spent trying to find it from others, a connection to my insides, and a belief in myself. The dependence on others was like hand candy, once dissolving more is needed.

It is only by finding myself in myself that long-lasting comfort becomes permanent, fleeting but a place to return to with self-talk because the ever present bully is there berating, beating down, and smack talking loudly.  

That happens to a child sexually abused by loved ones. Who is bad? I am. Because if it isn’t me, then it is the family I love and trust, and most importantly needed to survive.

So life goes on, dimmed, feeling hunted, and hiding inside. The outer shell lives life, the inner self muzzled and contained, so much so, that touching the place where I really was became inaccessible.

Buzzing through life on the carpet of anxiety, fear, and will, feeding off the light of others, was hardly enough at all. It is only in this later stage of years gone by, only after facing, and telling my real story, that appreciation of just how hard it has been begins to let up my own light, and to feel it warm me.

 

A Voice

Sitting by the fire the day after cataract surgery feeling forlorn, I sent out this email to Seth. One of three non-abusive siblings. He moved here from California recently. He has been a life-long buddy of Tom, one of the abusers.

Not sure what possessed me to reach out. I needed the comfort from a friend after the first email. Her response was that maybe I needed to. So once it began, I kept going. And for the first time expunged my feelings in a way to feel good about without regret.  

And the words kept coming. My emails are italicized, his are not. The feelings left after it all are that you can’t milk blood from a stone. That what I need won’t be found in what others call ‘family.’

He did finally say he was sorry for what I endured. That may have been what I’ve been looking for all along, but most likely too little, too late. 

Got my eyes done yesterday. Due to the traumas in my childhood he did the rare exception of doing both under General Anesthesia. Every time any medical issue is attended to my body reacts as if it is mortal danger. It takes a long time to recover. Though my body lay still, my heart beat as if running a marathon, which concerned them. They got me out fast.

I would wish for a closer relationship with ‘family’ where support can be felt. But family is just a group of people I was born into. (unfortunately) I have created my own.

I know I’m kept at arm’s length out of fear I may talk about the reality of my life, the damage done that cannot be corrected. Though committing energy, years, and money to therapy, some things broken remain broken.

I was thinking of you wishing I could reach out. But you have said everyone had it so hard, which so quickly silences me. The ones who attacked me had it hard, yes, of course I get that. I think had I never been born they wouldn’t have had to carry it all around all their lives. And no one had to. There is a word, I’m sorry.

Not one ever wrote or called to just say “I’m sorry.” Afraid of my rage probably, that’s not a good reason. I was a little girl. What Danny did is blocked out to this day, though I know it was a violent rape. What Tom did was traumatize me further by put-downs and snickers life-long making me look bad and inconsequential whenever possible. If I am looked at as less than others, than what he did wasn’t so bad.

It worked. It worked. I have and still feel ‘less than.’ He sat around my table here at this house when I was in my fifties putting me down. No one said a word. He snickered at my dumbness at buying this house with a realtor who cut corners. Making a point of how little I knew so that you and Stevie had to help. Cutting me down throughout my life didn’t stop, and he excelled at it.

I am happy now, which translates to being at peace. (most of the time) It is not how most of my life was. Most of it was lived in anxiety and rage.

But I have this time where I am at peace, or as much as I’m able to have.

I think of you often. Too bad it can’t be more than that. You chose Tom. I am just an afterthought, someone to treat well so you don’t feel guilty. That’s OK. I have people who really love me, warts and all. And being an only girl in a family that would attack me rather than love me is something that has made me feel like an abomination. Those that did it, and those that knew and kept quiet.

I was forced to keep it all in, not physical force but many other ways. Everyone made sure of that, even now. Unprocessed trauma(s) does a lot of damage to all systems of the body. But I am strong, I am a good, courageous, and very special person. I also got through yesterday’s surgery which is something I have been dreading the last few years as my eyes became worse and worse, with a dread uncommon to most others. It is a special hell for those sexually abused as a child, to have anyone come close to one’s body. I suppose the repression of the rape has something to do with that.

Patricia

I need to add that is was not love to criticize me for writing a book about the horrors I suffered. Love would be cheering me on. If I had the energy and ability, I’d speak across the country about the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse in families. And those that truly cared would applaud my courage and bravery for doing so. It is well past time for this to be talked about. It isn’t just coaches, priests, and scout leaders.

Patricia,

I’m sorry I’ve been negligent in getting back to you and let me say right from the start that I AM sorry for what you went through, a sentiment I believe I have expressed many times in the past (but maybe only in my own mind). I know if hurts you that I did not read your book. We all have our coping mechanisms, and mine is to box things up and store them away. That’s how I’ve always done it, am doing it now and probably will until my dying breath. Writing it was cathartic for you, and that’s great. I wouldn’t be for me and, I don’t want to know the details. I’m not proud of it, but that’s just the way it is. I can’t make you better. I wish I could, but I can’t and you know I can’t. 

It doesn’t hurt me that you didn’t read my book. It hurt me more than you’ll ever know that I was criticized about writing it…. So much so that I thought I was having a heart attack and went by ambulance to the hospital and spent the night.

Your opinion of me meant more than my own. Not your fault. I needed to grow and appreciate just what is inside me, and it is powerful. My opinion matters to me most now, but it took all that to learn and only just a few years ago. We keep growing as long as we are living… : )

I don’t care if you read it. It wasn’t written for you. It was written for me, to scourge out what they had done which had blackened my insides for decades. Women who have suffered what I suffered do need to hear the details so that they don’t feel alone. That’s how I started to face what was done to me, by reading what other women went through feeling for the very first time less alone, less bad, less an abomination.

You don’t need to read the details. But I also won’t be silenced anymore for another’s comfort. I suffered. I still suffer. I don’t need you to make me better. I am beautiful just as I am. And I am learning more and more about the beauty, strength, and courage that lies inside me.

No not once, did you, or anyone else say you were sorry about the traumas I endured. The exception may be Don. Stevie never knew and now has enough grief of his own to deal with. In that flurry of our exchanges about the book there might have been a line about it, but the defensiveness flung at me negated it.

In this note for the very first time I hear you.

In response to your note on Thursday, I can’t tell whether I’m the one who criticized you about your book or someone else. I don’t remember doing such a thing, but I know I’m often guilty of seeing what I want to see from someone else’s words. 

Something which caused me so much upheaval… you don’t remember.

You said in the email when there was a flurry back and forth after sharing the link to the book, that it wasn’t right to put family dysfunction out there. Or something to that effect. It was a blow to me, devastating.

Your embarrassment about what others had done meant I should stay quiet. It is common in families where this happens. The victim is further victimized, further wounded. The second wounding some call it for those attacked as children, then attacked by families to be quiet about it later on in life when they bravely speak out about it.

That was the criticism. After that I couldn’t hear anything else. But that is exactly how and why it keeps happening in families. The victim is made to keep quiet due to the shame of others. It became my shame, though it wasn’t mine at all.

A child holding all that in? Unprocessed PTSD causes life-long damage. If not processed at the time trauma occurs it can damage many bodily systems permanently… and it has.

You knew when it happened the first time because I told you as a child that Danny fucked me.’ The words he must have used while he did it, though I have blacked it out except the time right before and afterwards when screaming in the bathtub because ‘it stung down there.’

Don came running in to see what was wrong. (I must have been 8 or 9 by the way, just a little girl)

That you didn’t do anything at the time, I don’t blame you, though I wish you had. I wish you stayed home to protect me. Impossible I know. You were a teenager.

But you knew more about the others besides Danny in your thirties when I sent out poem like letters to everyone about what they had done, yet it still didn’t matter. You chose to be closest to one of my attackers. As if it didn’t matter what he did. That I do hold you to. You can’t be on the sidelines. You must take a stand for what is right.

Tom must have been home from college when he crept up in the night to attack me while Stevie and I slept on each end of the couch falling asleep watching the Christmas tree. Attacks aren’t always violent. Some are quiet, waking me from a deep sleep.

The brother I loved and trusted became a monster drilling me down for decades afterwards, making me look bad whenever he could.

He may have done the most damage with his constant campaign to cut me down, belittle me, and make me look inconsequential. He tore me up more than all that happened. No one crossed him, or confronted him in his efforts. You have been his closest ally and buddy.  

Coming out of all that I became much like a hostage bowing to her captives, the group of people most call ‘family’.