There are times, times when I’m trying to tell my story, trying to get it out of me, to piece together foggy memories so as to account for all the black holes…oh, there are many, many times when I can’t find words. I can’t find the words to explain, to express what I felt, what I experienced, what I survived. What I endured.
I can’t find the words to describe what it was like as a child, lying in bed at night, waiting. Listening to every creak, praying not to hear the floorboards of my bedroom floor bending, straining, popping beneath the weight of someone stealthily entering under cover of darkness in the dead quiet of the night. Someone who was supposed to protect me from the boogeyman, but who was worse than any boogeyman I could ever possibly imagine. I would hold my breath as I lay there, clutching my flashlight like a life preserver as if my life did indeed depended on it, nose below the blankets no matter how hot it was in the room, praying for the night to end quickly. For the first hints of daylight to come to my rescue.
Because it was too grueling to comprehend what my father was doing to me, I began to fear ghostly, malevolent spirits that were real and terrifying to me. Spirits I alone could see. Spirits that would invade my bedroom each night, terrorizing me, teaching me fear beyond what my brain and body could assimilate or withstand. They rode the rocking chair from the living room to my room. I could hear it creak, creak, creak as it slowly made its way to the doorway of my bedroom, where it sat rocking, mocking, watching at me. As every “creak” became louder, closer, I lay petrified and terrified beyond reason, knowing there was no escape. Knowing the darkness would win again that night. That all hope was lost.
I was an adult before I finally realized the rocking chair was but a clever disguise for my father, one I used to shield myself from the horror of my reality. For it was my father who crept down the hall into my room, the floor creaking beneath each step. Sadly, I was over 40 before I realized he was the malevolent spirit that had his way with me, taking what he wanted, using my young, undeveloped body to meet his twisted, lust-filled sexual desires.
There are times when I run out of words because words seem woefully inadequate. No words can sufficiently paint the picture. It seems futile to even try.
But I am driven to try. And to keep trying.
There are times I strive in vain to paint the picture of what it was like to grow up in a house where my only defense was to be invisible. Where my best hope was to become a ghost who moved through the rooms unseen. Because when I was noticed, I was hit. I was slapped. I was derided. I was used. I was told that I was nothing, worthless, a failure who never lived up to expectations. I was molested and raped. I was neglected. I was dragged by my hair. I was ridiculed. The slaps and fists left bruises and red marks on my body. The words slit my soul and cut it into pieces. The sexual abuse pounded me into powder. Many of those marks and slits, the ones that went deep inside of me, remain. Some have scarred over. Some are yet fresh and oozing, infected and ugly. They attest to my defilement.
And the fragmented pieces, the dust? The dust lives on. The dust lives on even though much of my being does not.
I lived in a dark, horrible, lonely, frightening world when I was growing up in that house. It has tainted the rest of my life, the life I ran to once I graduated from high school and fled my parent’s reach. I could never run far enough away to escape what they had done to me and the results of their abuse and neglect. They had infected me and there seems to be no cure for the deadly infection.
There aren’t enough words in the universe to describe what it is like to grow up completely alone and unloved. There aren’t enough words in all of the languages of the world combined to tell you what it was like to be abused and rejected by the people who gave birth to you, who were supposed to want and cherish you, who were charged to protect and nurture you. In that distorted world where I matured, I lived in isolation, in a vacuum, in a deep fog and in such intense, unbearable pain, it had a physical, as well as psychological, impact on my body.
There are times when it seems pointless, when I feel there is no need to struggle to write or speak the words anymore. Once spoken, they were supposed to set me free. Writing them was supposed to bring healing. I am tired of working so hard to say something just right; right enough that I will finally find release and wholeness. To finally receive wings on which to fly. To finally taste freedom. I’ve been at this for a long time. The promised liberty has not materialized. My brokenness continues to cripple me in far too many ways, even now. The telling of my story has not washed me clean. It has not healed my festering wounds.
Yet, here I am, once again, trying to find the perfect words to purge me of the toxins I was force-fed during my nightmarish childhood. Pointless though it may be and as hopeless as the venture may prove, I can’t stop myself from spilling, pouring, raining words out onto paper in hopes that I will finally find a way to escape the prison in which my mind and soul have been locked for all these many, many years. I can’t stop myself from writing a blog most people will never see nor want to read, even if they do, by chance, discover it. I can’t refrain from creating poems and songs that are laced with my pain and crushing emptiness. I fill blank pages with black letters to discharge my tears as I strive to spell out the words that I hope will unlock the cage and, at long last, release me from the darkness where I have been trapped, lost and alone.