When I was a kid…is usually followed by some heartfelt or fun story of days gone by. I always feel a twinge of sadness when I hear these stories. I don’t really have a lot happy memories. My childhood stories are often grim and it is strange to sit amongst others who had such a wildly different reality than you. You sit and smile and laugh with them. You don’t tell yours because you will ruin the mood, bring silence to the crowd and so you sit with the reality of your truth in silence. This is my effort to give voice to the truth of my childhood stories.
When I was kid I was busy trying to survive.
When I was a kid I slept on the floor as a punishment, for five years.
When I was a kid, I tried to be good so I could go one day without a beating. I am not quite sure if it ever worked.
When I was a kid, I was told I was bad, evil and demonically possessed by the person closest to me, my mother. I believed her.
When I was a kid men violated men, men whose full names I do not recall, men I could never bring to legal justice because it was so long ago.
When I was a kid, I ran away and they kept sending me back.
When I was a kid I screamed for help and no one came.
When I was kid I tried to kill myself.
As I write this there is a part of me that says, don’t you dare publish this. There is a part of me that is saying, “too much”. There is a part of me that is afraid of “turning you off”, and “scared of scaring you away with my truth.”
In writing this I know this is my victim speaking, an aspect of me I have in the past tried to shun, push away, discard. There is such a stigma attached to being a victim. To sounding like one, to coming off like one. I wonder how much of this is minimizing the pain and violations many of us have gone through. I wonder how much of this is more of…”move on with your life” usually said by people who have been through it and have not dealt with it deeply within themselves or others who have no clue what it feels like to live through the lens of a traumatized brain and body.
I wonder what it would be like if we truly gave voice to our victim, if we let it say what it needs to say…perhaps it wouldn’t feel like it needed to get attention in so many other ways. Maybe if we spoke the truth of how we were victimized, the truth of how it felt, how it went, how undeniably helpless we felt…maybe if we allowed ourselves to feel those feelings, to grieve the loss of our sense of safety and sense of self, our power and our ownership over our bodies….then maybe we wouldn’t have to keep playing out the story of being a victim in our relationships and our lives.
The truth is, I want to live here in the present without the stories and memories and trauma living in my body. I want to be open and free and write always of love, truth, and beauty. I want to NOT have this story to tell. Despite how far I’ve come, I wish I didn’t have to do this work to get to some semblance of normalcy and peace within myself. The truth is I wish that I could just change my focus and be a writer who inspires in a different way.
For today, I am not that writer. I am the writer who tells the ugly truth to those who need to hear it, to those who want someone to understand their own painful truth. I inspire others to speak their truth. Maybe because I am willing to share my darkness and my light, others will experience more of their own with love and understanding. Maybe because I am willing to give voice and compassion to my victim, others will find ways to heal this part without becoming completely identified with it and living from its perspective. Maybe.
Sometimes I feel like we are all screaming inside while we smile and wear our masks of conformity. We hold back tears, we stifle screams, we play the parts that provide us with the most acceptance and love. I wonder what it would be like to be real and be held and seen and accepted in all of our reality and sometimes insanity. In our sadness, joy, curiosity, confusion, grief, anger…all of it.
I wonder if I could just hold myself a bit more in all of it.