Tag Archives: Terror

Teacher, Teacher

My father was a teacher.

He first wanted to be a pastor, a revelation that was quite surprising, considering neither of my parents attended church and only spoke of God when they wanted to restrict my behavior or forbid me from participating in some activity.  Everything fun was a sin.  So, at best, I learned of a rejecting and small-minded God.

Drinking was a sin.  Getting drunk was a dire and unforgivable sin. Cursing was a sin.  Disobeying my parents was a sin.  Selfishness was a sin if I was guilty, but oddly enough, it wasn’t a sin when my parents were guilty. Lying, particularly to my parents, was a sin.  As was dancing, skating, smoking, going to movies, hanging out with friends.  Wanting cool clothes and caring about how one looked was also a sin…vanity.  Sin was not permitted.  It was very, very bad. God hated sinners.  He sent them to hell.  He only accepted the perfectly obedient.

Sex before marriage would send you to hell.  But somehow adultery never made the list, perhaps because it was my father’s specialty.  That and a few other sexual sins.

Considering these shaming conversations were the only ones “about” God that were heard in my house as I was growing up, the thought of my earthly father leading a church service was incongruous, to say the least.  Thankfully, the pastor gig didn’t pan out.  And when it fell apart, he moved toward what he considered to be the next best option.  He became a teacher.  Of 7th and 8th grade English.   And when he received his Master’s degree, he added Reading Specialist to his title.

This “next best” option still gave him power and access to fairly young children.

He was a Sergeant in the Air Force and for the rest of his life, everyone who knew him called him “Sarge.”  He earned the nickname.  Wore it with pride.  My father was a man who demanded absolute obedience.  Like God.

Though I am unsure of my age when he first started sexually abusing me (childhood trauma can play havoc with memory…and the soul), by the time I entered elementary school, I was already showing signs of long term abuse.  Torturing my dolls.  Sexual awareness far beyond what was normal for a 6-year-old.  Fear of adults.  Withdrawal.  I carried secrets no little girl should ever have to carry.

My father the teacher taught me many things.

He taught me to fear.  To disregard my own intuition and perceptions. To hate myself.  To despair.  To distrust.  To expect the bad.  For you could always depend on terrible things happening.

He taught me to disassociate.  To hurt.  Feel agony beyond what I could bear.  To hold in my tears, even as they ripped me into pieces.  To numb my emotions. To live in a vacuum void of any life-giving elements.

And he taught me about sex.  He told me he was doing it for my own good.  To help me.

My father the teacher was very, very helpful.  When he wanted something from me.

My greatest fear is that he also taught other little girls.  And if I had found my voice when he was alive, I might have been able to prevent him from taking on other “students.”

I pray I am wrong.  I pray I was the only one.  But the odds are against my prayer being answered.  I wonder often if the day will come when I encounter another child he personally tutored the way he groomed and tutored me.

He was such a “good” teacher, the lessons he taught me have been difficult to unlearn.  The numbness persists.  As does fear and despair.  My memory is full of black holes and brief flashes.  I cannot put the few memories I do have into any kind of order.  They pop into my head and play behind my eyes randomly, then fade away just as quickly.  I struggle to believe I have value unless I prove myself to be useful again and again.  I must earn the right to live and breathe, unsure I am even a person. I see my Heavenly Father through the same lens as I view my earthly father.  I fear Him as I feared him.  I don’t know how to trust Him, just as I knew I could not trust him.  I feel His rejection and displeasure just as I felt his rejection and displeasure.  I feel used by Him much in the same way I felt used by him.  My earthy father broke me, smashed me to pieces, shattered my soul.  My Heavenly Father allowed it…and He has not bothered to put me back together.

Could be the healing I have sought hasn’t come because of the lessons my father taught me.  Such a very “good” teacher.  I can’t seem to change the way I see my Father and I think this hinders me in my pursuit of wholeness.  Not only did my father shatter me with his lessons, he shattered my ability to trust the One who might be able to help me.

He stole my hope.  Derailed my future.  Defiled me.

The problem with being defiled is that I am the one who got dirty.  He walked away unscathed.  Unlabeled.   He got away without enduring a single consequence.

What he taught me did not help me.  It did not prepare me for life.  Instead, it crippled me.  His lessons have been something I must constantly struggle to overcome, not something I can build and stand upon.

But he taught me. Teacher, teacher.  He taught me lasting lessons.  Written indelibly on my heart.  Infused into every cell.   And I walk this dark and empty path he set before me though I have tried desperately to leave it behind.  I walk this torturous, desolate, poisoned path every single moment of each and every day.

I have been perfectly obedient.

 

Wreck

I had a wreck.  A real one.

The traffic on the expressway came to a dead stop in front of me.  I stopped.  I looked in my rear-view mirror; felt relief because no one was right on my tail.  Looked at the exit ramp, wishing there was some way to weave through the idling cars, but realized it wasn’t going to happen.  Looked forward again, trying to figure out how long we might be stuck.  Then…kablam!

That was the last normal moment I experienced.

With the first hit, which I wasn’t expecting at all, the world exploded.  I was shoved forward into the car in front of me and felt myself being thrown.  My air bag went off.  I think I might have put my arm up to protect my face, but I really can’t be sure.  And then, there was a second hit.  Harder than the first one.  Much harder.  Shoving me forward again.  I remember thinking, “How many times am I going to get hit?”  “Is this ever going to end?”  Because it felt like it went on and on.  Even though it was probably over in a matter of seconds.  It was terrifying.

Glad I was wearing my seat belt.

Thankfully, the third and fourth hit I feared was coming never happened.

I was shaking.  I couldn’t think.  I needed to call someone, but couldn’t remember who to call.   Finally remembering I should probably call my brother.  Looking for my purse, now in the floorboards.  Noticing part of my jewelry, the jewelry I had been wearing, laying in one of the cup holders.   Pulling my phone out.  Trying to remember how to use it.  Searching the contacts for my brother’s name.  The phone ringing.  He answered.  I don’t even remember what I said.  Just, “I’ve been in a wreck.  A bad one.  I think my arm may be broken.”

I needed to get someone to let my dogs out.  I think I called my aunt.  My sister-in-law.  Called a friend at work.  Then realized in a panic, my car could still be hit again.  And I cut off the current call because I HAD to get out of that car…what was left of it…RIGHT NOW!

Then seeing my car.  Realizing I no longer had a car.  My new car; gone.  Broken into pieces and beyond repair.  I walked away.

I stopped like a good girl.  The world didn’t.

Actually, my world stopped a long time ago.  This was just one more time when I had the brakes on, waiting for the path ahead to clear, listening and watching.  Hoping to find a way when there wasn’t one.  Observing.  Waiting.  Trying to be patient.  Only to be run down and destroyed.  Waiting patiently didn’t change the outcome.  Didn’t stop the bad stuff from mowing me down…yet again.  Didn’t keep it from crashing into me and taking everything away.

My arm hurt.  At first, it stung badly.  Then it felt a little numb.  And then the pain came in waves that got bigger and bigger and bigger until I couldn’t think of anything except how agonizing it felt.  It appeared to be broken.  Deformed and lumpy on one side, though, thankfully, no bones sticking out. The medics who left me standing in the grass as they checked out the others who were involved said it was broken.  Said they would be back.  To hold it to my chest.  To please wait.  And to stay right where I was.

I didn’t have anywhere to go.  Or anything to go in.

No option except to go in the ambulance that finally took me to the hospital.  After the policeman confiscated my license.  Which seemed a bit odd.  I didn’t do anything.  I was just sitting there when the world exploded and pain enveloped me.  And everything fell apart.

The day after, my entire body hurt.  Two days after, I felt a little better in some places.  Except the arm.  The arm that may or may not be broken was feeling much worse.  After waiting for hours, after they took multiple x-rays, the doctor finally told me it was too swollen to tell if it was fractured and that I would need a recheck in 10 to 15 days.  This was the instruction I received when they released me around 8:30 from the emergency room, 4 hours after the wreck.  May just be really screwed up, but with bones intact.

The thing I did learn at the hospital is that the first car hit me while going about 50 mph.  The second car never even attempted to brake.  They slammed into the back of my car going at least 60 mph.  I couldn’t quite get my head around it.

Weirdly, the better my bruised and battered body felt, the more I crashed emotionally.

Three days after the wreck, I started crying.  For no reason.  Well, for no reasonable reason.  Too late to cry over crashed car.  Spilled milk.  Whatever.  Too late to cry, but I’m crying anyway.  Sobbing, actually.  Then numb again.  Depressed.  Unable to see the light of day.  Remembering the feeling of being hit and thinking it was never going to stop.

Afraid to drive.  Danger is everywhere.

Just like in life.

Sitting.  Waiting for the next pileup.  Knowing it’s coming sooner or later.  And I can’t get out of the way.  There’s no avoiding it.

Trying to pick up all the pieces, but they’re strewn all over the road.  And there’s no putting them back together again.

Kilroy Was Here

The war in which I fought, the war that left its indelible mark on me, was not a major battle lauded by historians as a great victory or a lesson learned.  It was not researched after the fact, analyzed, viewed from various interesting angles and dissected by great minds with the intent of culling any worthwhile data it might provide.  Nor was it documented with video equipment and reenacted, or detailed in studious dissertations.  It was not noted at all, in fact, by any person alive on planet earth, either during or after the terrible war had essentially ended.  It is actually only briefly noted within a massive list of words and definitions by a single two-syllable word that resides in Webster’s Dictionary.  Just one word to explain the hideous events that changed my world forever.  That annihilated me, though I fought for survival ever so gallantly.  One word.

Incest.

The battle was fought in my own home behind doors that were kept locked with the intent of keeping the boogieman safely outside.  But the boogieman was a resident of the house where I grew up.  He built it.  The locks were pathetically ineffective.  The fox was guarding the hen house.

I had to maintain the highest level of invisibility achievable by a child who was terrified of those who gave her life, only to metaphorically take it away.  I could not draw my name upon the wall to mark my passing.  To commemorate how I had fought and suffered.  No “Kilroy Was Here” left on a board or stone to prove I had been, though I was no more.

I cloaked myself in darkness, but again and again, the darkness betrayed me.  For it did not hide me from my father who quietly sneaked into my room at night and took what he wanted from me, leaving little behind.  It did not soften the impact of being raped, abused and used.  It did not shield me from his warped lust.

I could not leave a mark as a witness of what I suffered at their hands as they used me to satisfy their whims or to release their raging anger.  I could not speak of the atrocities.  Nor memorialize the tragedy.  No one knew of the war in which I so desperately struggled and fought.  I could not tell them.  I was a prisoner of an unknown and unacknowledged war.  People do not want to hear, they do not want to know the ugly truth of the torture such prisoners endure.  Even when the war is supported, they turn their head and shut their eyes.

“Kilroy Was Here” was a proclamation.  It was created as a visual symbol to commemorate the GI’s presence.  He left it behind as a sign for those who would come after.  To let them know he had been where they are now…and had lived to tell.

I have no clever graphic.  I have only words.  I leave them strewn here on this screen for those who will come after me.  And sadly, there will be many more who come after.  More broken souls who start their life wounded by those who were supposed to die protecting them.  Staggering under the weight of every form of child abuse.  And like any soldier who endures and fights in horrendous conditions while attempting to survive the unrelenting attacks of a deadly, disguised, fanatic enemy, we are each one forever changed by what we have endured.

We may survive, but we don’t get out alive.

 

When the Bough Breaks

“Rock-a-by baby
On the tree top,
When the wind blows
The cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks,
The cradle will fall,
And down will come baby
Cradle and all.”

The wind blew.  It started blowing before I was born.  A cold, harsh, unforgiving wind.  Destructive.  It blew. Relentlessly.  Every day.  Without ceasing.  My parents were driven by it; directionless without it.  And the first air to fill my lungs as I cried out after birth was that of the powerful wind that haunted me and cut a vicious path through my entire life.

The wind blew without ceasing.

My cradle rocked.  Wildly.  Brutally.  And the bough broke.  Time and time and time again.

Who takes a baby up to the top of the tree, only to let them fall?

The wind whipped up emotional storms.  Violent fights between my parents.  Hitting.  Slapping.  Throwing.  Leaving.  And when I tried to intervene as a tiny child, the hits and slaps landed on me.  After the storm, when they had both walked out, I held my younger brother, told him everything would be okay and cleaned up the mess.  Picked up the tossed dishes (melamine doesn’t break), the silverware that was strewn across the kitchen and small living room of the trailer where we lived.  Gathered the scattered clothing.  Did what I could to fix the unfix-able.  Did what I could to survive the fall.

Sometimes, the storm hit me full force.  There was nothing to hold on to but the ferocious wind that tossed me to the earth, broken and bloody.  No shelter.  No way to escape.  Couldn’t put the pieces back together.  The bough broke.  I fell.  Hard.

The wind blew in the abuse.  Abuse of every kind, shape and color.  It howled and danced in frenzied glee at the havoc it wreaked.  This is what the wind does.  It tears apart.  It shakes everything that can be shaken.  It destroys anything that can be destroyed.

I was vulnerable.  A child.  I was easy to take down and rip apart.  Easy to destroy.

I lived in the wind, slammed down to the ground, tossed like a weightless feather.  Watching the earth fall out from under me.  Watching my world disintegrate as we smashed to the ground once again.  Standing against the ferocious gale was impossible.  Walking in it took every bit of strength I could muster.  There was no keeping my balance.  Up was down and down was sideways.  The debris crashed into me as I crashed into it.  The tempest never died down.  Never grew tired or lessened in force.  Never lost interest in breaking the bough I clung to with tenacity, even as it was ripped out of my hand.

When the bough breaks, you fall.  You fall through empty air.  And you know it’s going to hurt when you hit the ground.  There is nothing to soften the blow.

When a child is born into the arms of the wind of chaos, even when you run, there is no escape.  It’s within you.  You can’t get away from yourself.

I tried.  I ran when I was 17.  The squall chased me.  I thought getting out of the cradle my parents created, that cradle into which I was born, I oh-so-stupidly thought it would change everything.  But I had been changed by the wind.  I was powerless against it.  When I ran, I took that sadistic wind with me.  It had become a part of the very fabric of my being.

It has been with me every day since birth.  Endlessly raging.

The storm is in me.  And when the wind blows, I break.  Everything I cling to is ripped away.  I fall to the earth, screaming silently in the wind as it rips my breath from my lungs, howling in delight at my  raw, ferocious pain and unending agony.

To the Left of Me

She lives just out of sight
to the left of me
I catch glimpses of her
from time to time
her battered wounded body
bruised and broken
a quivering mass
helpless
repugnant

My eyes do not linger long
not wanting to look too closely
not wanting to see too clearly
not wanting to know
what has been done to her
to make her appear
so horribly ruined
She is little more
than a pulpy mass of torn and beaten flesh
So grave are her injuries
she cannot escape the moment
where she is frozen
forever
in time

I’m not sure of her age
don’t know
her features
for I never look too attentively
Yet, even if I could bear to study her
I doubt I could describe her
in any detail
she is too badly fractured
she is too deeply wounded
she is too hideous to carefully observe

I do not acknowledge her
in those rare moments
when I catch sight of her
out of the corner of my eye
there to the left of me
I do not give her
even the slightest
friendly sign
Instead
I look away
turning from her
quickly
telling myself she is not my concern
not someone I want to get to know
or spend time with

Sometimes thoughts of her prick my mind
and I wonder about her
what she is like
why she is there
what happened to her
who she is
But I sense the answers are intensely painful
causing apprehension to shoot through me
like liquid ice
causing me to squirm inside
to sweat fear from my pores
So I quench the questions
before I can finish the thought
swiftly close the door
turn the key
in the lock
and I walk away

Yet when I am alone
in the deep darkness of the night
I can’t help but ponder
her
I can’t help but
contemplate her fate

I sense she is a child
with unruly golden hair
one who used to love to run with the wind
whose limbs were strong and growing
I believe she danced in the sunshine
twirled in the cool green grass
caught snowflakes on her tongue
breathed deeply the crisp fresh air
I believe she was alive once
inquisitive
sensitive
I think she must have laughed with delight
at the beauty she saw
in rocks
and leaves
in stars
and trees
in clouds
and fields
She was a child
who was fully alive
like the wriggly trusting puppy
she loves
with all of her heart

She was animated
and knew the joy of life
until
abuse stole her spark
left her dark
and pulverized
She could no longer dance
or laugh
and she watched the wind
run
without her

I think she withdrew
deep within herself
in a vain attempt to protect herself
from the crippling blows
the horrible physical
emotional
sexual abuse
the violent environment
the nightmare of her world
The lack of love and nurture
broke her
into a zillion pieces
annihilated her
mutilated her
decimated her
crushed her
and left her as she is
today

She is bloody
trapped
isolated behind her walls
She is deathly quiet
shunning oxygen
existing on emptiness
surviving
but not thriving
not living
not alive

What does she want from me?
Why is she there?
I feel her watching me
feel her pleading eyes follow me
as I go about my day
She is like a scratchy sweater
too warm and too tight
pricking, itching, scraping me
binding, squeezing, restricting me
I am so uncomfortable with her
uneasy
wary
wanting her to go away
wanting her to leave me alone
to release me from her prickly
painful touch

I fear her
for I am afraid
she is not simply an elusive ghost
haunting and unsettling me
dwelling where I can’t quite see her
to the left of me
I am afraid
if I look too closely
I will find
she wears my face
shares my heart
sees with my eyes
cries my tears
tastes my fear
and that it is my blood
she is bleeding
my blood
running through her veins
spilling from her wounds

I can’t bear to look at her too closely
because I fear
this broken
horribly disfigured child
is me

Sacrifice

She thanks me for
the sacrifice
I made
so she could live her life
uninterrupted
by the truth
by consequences
or by pain
she’s grateful
that I kept it quiet
and that I do not
blame
her
or my father

It’s redemption
that she seeks –
she longs to know
they did not fail
and I turned out okay;
at least the parts that show
so they could not
have done too badly
after all
and surely
no one does the job
of parenting
the way they thought they would
surely
no one does it
any better

She claims
she’s always loved me
always will
and she prays
the love she has for me
will fill
the cracks
and wounds
unintentionally
inflicted

It’s in the past
she’s quick to state
where it should stay
but surely God
will use it
to bring good about
of that promise
there’s no doubt
so I should cast
my cares on Him
and let it go
these long ago
dark secrets
and get on with life
I did the right thing
when I made
the sacrifice

Yet –

something in
her rhetoric
disturbs me
in some deep
unsettling way
hard to identify
not visible
to the naked eye
it touches something
buried in my mind

What kind of love
thinks of itself
first
using a child
their own child
to fill their needs
or worse
taking
abusing
never noticing
the devastating blows
it is releasing
the devastating
wounds
it is inflicting

The damage
not intended
surely doesn’t count
against them
does it
I could not
hold it
against them –

and while I don’t
while I have worked
long
to forgive them
still I am a prisoner
of their sordid
ugly
“needs”
twisted desires
rejection and neglect
for I am
yet tangled
in the tentacles
of their abhorrent deeds
done in darkness

This “sacrifice”
she claims I made
was just a child
doing what she had to
to survive
their crushing abuse
a vain attempt
to try
to stay
alive

And even now she cannot see
in truth
they’re the ones
who sacrificed
me

 

 

Goodbye. Farewell. See Ya.

I lost them long before they died.  It made it easy to say goodbye.

They were broken, selfish, narcissistic people.  Only their own needs mattered.  Everyone existed to serve them, to make them look good, to give them what they wanted and needed, to validate them.  They were not stable, often allowing emotions and anger to take control.  Causing them to lash out.  To hit.  To push and shove.  To yell.  To say horrible, soul-breaking things.  To ridicule.  To demean.  To reject and belittle.

Both were abusive.  Both had their own way of doing damage.

The mother unit was so self-focused, she didn’t remember me as a child.  I asked her once what I was like when I was small, trying to gain a different perspective on myself as I attempted to put the pieces back together again.  I received letter after letter, 20 or 30 pages long…or more.  About her feelings, her struggles, her disappointments during my growing up years.  But not one word about me.  Not one.  Not one single word about what kind of a little girl I was.  I finally called, thanking her for sharing her own journey, but told her I was trying to get a little insight into what others might have seen when they encountered me as a child.  Silence.  Then finally, she spoke.  “I don’t really remember you.”  And she was off on another tangent, telling me about how horrid her life was and how disappointing I was to her, having not fixed all of her many problems.

She could also lash out in anger.  She tended to slap hard or drag me by my hair.  Crying the whole time because I was so horrible.  Telling me what a failure I was and how badly I let her down.

I loved to sing.  I made the mistake of asking her once if she thought I had a good voice.  She said, “No, not really.”  Years later, when I was an adult, I discovered I was actually a pretty good singer.  Found out my mother was comparing me to Barbra Streisand.  That’s how good I had to be in her eyes to rate encouragement.  To be worthy.  Anything less than her idea of perfection meant I was a total failure.

I was always less than her idea of perfection.  I was always a failure in her eyes.

As a small child, even when I was a baby, she told me all her problems.  Ran at the mouth constantly.  Couldn’t shut up.  When I turned 11, I was crushed when she told me I was a huge disappointment because I wasn’t as mature as I should be.  All because I couldn’t fix what was broken in her life.  My job, you see, was to please her and make everything okay for her.  But I was never good enough, no matter how hard I tried.  I could never make everything okay.

Sometimes, she would hide in the closet, too paranoid to come out and talk to anyone.  I was to make excuses for her.  To explain.  To make the abnormal seem normal.

The father unit was even worse.

He hit too.  Hard.  With fists.  Not as often as the mother unit, but when he exploded, it was terrifying.

And there was the sexual abuse.  Ran the gamut from bad to worse.  It permeated my childhood from around age 4 or 5 until I was 14.  A good 10 years of being used as an object.  A nobody.  Nothing.  Keeping the secret.  Living without air.  Without hope.  Living in fear of the darkness because that was when he would most often come to my bedroom.  Trying to be invisible on the days he was off work when my mother was working.  Or the times he molested me when she was reading a book while sitting in the same room.  Not willing to see.  Refusing to believe her “knight in shining armor” was anything less than perfect.

He was sick.  He infected everyone he touched.  And he touched me often.

I walked in dark shadows.  I existed in Netherlands.  I tip-toed through silent and terrifying days and prayed for the sun to come quickly while I lay wrapped in the darkness of night.  Tormented by demons both human and supernatural.  Paralyzed by fear and ravished by anguish.  Pain skewered my heart.  There was no place to find refuge.  No safety.  No protection.

He died in 1998.  I have yet to shed a tear.  I was actually relieved to say that final goodbye.  To never again have to hold my breath while I was around him.  Bracing when he came to visit.  It was finally finished.

She died in 2002.  Still haven’t cried.  Not even once.  You see, when you lose someone 40 years before they actually pass away, you have a long time to adjust.  You learn to live without them long before they are gone.  Because you never really had them to begin with.

It’s hard for a child to understand.  Even for an adult.  But you do eventually get it.

You say goodbye to what you never had and what will never be.  To parents who never loved or protected you.  You slowly realize the bond most kids develop with their parents simply isn’t in the realm of possibility in your reality.  So you let go.  Of hope.  Piece by piece.  Dream by dream.  You bid your abusers farewell one moment at a time until there is no longer any connection between you.

You cry your tears when you’re 7, 8, 10, 12, 15.  So when they do finally leave earth, all your tears are gone and your eyes are dry.  You don’t feel anything but a quiet release.

You can’t miss what you never had.

You just say goodbye.  Farewell.  See ya.  And you keep walking.  Alone.  Like you’ve done every other day of your life.

 

No Words

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.

 

 

What I Would Not Give

Graduation DayWhat I would not give to be graduating from high school this year.

It wasn’t that long ago that I did.  Graduate.

(Okay, it was a long time ago.  I just can’t comprehend the passage of time.  I still feel 17.)

I worked hard to get there.  To make it to that moment.  To graduation.  I believed.   I believed I could change the course of my life.  I had so much hope.  My life was there in front of me.  Beautiful.  Exciting.  Wonderful.  I believed the right things would happen because my heart was in the right place.  I believed I could change the ending, even though the beginning had been set in stone.

What I wouldn’t give to have the opportunity to go to college.  To walk the campus of a university I would call home for the next four years.  Not knowing where my steps would take me.  But believing they would take me somewhere that was incredible.   Somewhere with endless possibilities.

Somewhere good.

What I would not give to be graduating from that college, having proven myself, having attained something others would recognize as being worthwhile.  Something that would give me a sense of validation, even though it really didn’t make me a legitimate human being.

What I would not give to have a purpose and direction.  Meaning.

What I would not give to be able to start over.  To go back to that place where I totally screwed up. Where all of life was before me and to be able to return to that point where very, very little lay behind.  Where possibilities stretched in front of me endlessly.  That place where hope and excitement prevailed.   In spite of the difficulties I needed to overcome.  In spite of the horrors of my childhood and all the damage it had done.  In spite of those terrible things that had wounded and shaped me thus far.  In spite of those things that had broken me.  And decimated me.  In spite of what my parents had done to me.  What they had made of me.

What I would not give for a chance to start over.  To do things differently.  To be wiser.  To make better choices.  To approach things differently.  To take care of myself and treat myself as if I mattered.  Or even as if I might possibly matter.  To someone.  To me.  Somehow. Some day.

What I would not give to be able to recognize I at least had a small amount of value, even though I was terribly imperfect. Even though I was terribly flawed. Even though I was horribly wounded.  Even though I was a mess.  Even though I was challenging to love.

Or impossible to love.  Even though I might be unlovable. Because of the damage.

I spent most of my life sleepwalking through the days.  I spent most of my life completely numb and sound asleep.  To get by.  To make it through.   I spent all of my life simply trying to survive the moment.  Sacrificing who I was.  Sacrificing all of my dreams.  Sacrificing my desires.  Because I thought I was nothing.  I thought I was worthless.  And it cost me everything.  I lost all the important moments.  I lost almost every single thing that mattered to me.  I lost my life, even though I am still technically alive.  I sacrificed myself, not knowing the cost.  Not understanding the price.  Not understanding what was going on.

What I would not give or sacrifice now to be able to start over again.  To make different choices.  To walk a different path.  To undertake a different journey.  To choose a different road.  To see things differently.

Oh, God, what I wouldn’t do to be able to have another chance.  One.  More.  Chance.

Can you really turn all these curses into blessings?  Can you really give me a future?  A good future?  Filled with hope?  Even though I’m old and my life is almost over?  Do You really want to bless me?  Can you truly turn all the horrible nightmares of my life into good?

Do you love me?  Me?  Worthless me?  Unlovable me?

What I would not give for that chance.  That chance to change the course of my life.  I have nothing much to give, truth be told.  But I would give everything…everything…everything to have that chance.

I have grown old.  I have frittered away all of my days.  All of my opportunities.  All of my possibilities.  I didn’t mean to be so stupid.  I didn’t mean to be so screwed up.  I tried hard to succeed and to avoid failure.  But it was not enough.   All my effort was not enough.  Everything I had to give was not enough.  I was never enough.

What I would not give to have the chance to begin again.

I’ve been around for quite awhile now.  For more years than I can comprehend.  More years than I want to admit.

I have nothing to show for all that time.

I would give anything to roll back the time.  To that time when there was time.

What I wouldn’t give to be able to start over again.

I would probably still screw it up.  But I would like to believe I could change my destiny.

I would like to believe things could have turned out differently.  Better. Much better.

What I would not give to have the chance to try again.  Just one more chance…

One.  More.

 

The World Will Spin Without Me

It will be as if I was never here.   As if I never had been. As if I never mattered. At all.

There will be no one to hold me when I die.  No one to mourn.  No one to miss me.

I will die alone.  No fanfare.

The world will spin without me.  It will go on.  The footprints I have made in the sand of time will quickly be eradicated.

Not that there will be many footprints left behind.  Not that there will be many…if any.  I haven’t left much of a mark.  Even though I have tried.  Even though I have desperately tried to leave a piece of myself behind.

No one will weep.  No one will hear the words I have written.  Or miss the words I might have written.  All the painful words  The honest and painful words I might have written.  I will leave no mark.  No permanent mark.  I will have no impact.  I will usher in no revelations.

I am a mere insignificant blip in the overall timeline of the expansive universe.  I mean nothing.  I am nothing.  I never have meant anything.  I never have been anything.

The stars will still shine at night.  The sun will still rule the daytime sky.  Clouds will still float as they are blown by the wind.  The seasons will still change.  The years will still pass.  My eyes will not see it.  I will not feel the heat and the cold and the wind and the rain and the snow.  It will continue, but I will not.  It will all spin.  Without me.

Time leaves us all behind at some point.  When we step out, when the door closes, when time ejects us from the stream, it’s over.  It’s done.  The world will go on.  It will spin without me.  The world will spin without me.

I will cease to exist.  I will cease to matter.  Not that I have ever mattered.

The one thing I wanted of life…the biggest and most important thing…was to be loved by someone.  Because if you are truly loved and cherished by someone, you are never alone.  You go on in the  heart of those others even after you are gone.  I wanted to leave a little piece of me behind.  I wanted the world to stop, even if just for one nanosecond, when I stepped off the planet.  I wanted to matter for that nanosecond.  I wanted to be someone.  Someone who left a mark.

There is no one here who will not experience that nanosecond.

We all know life goes on.  We all know we are going to die someday and that life will leave us behind.  But we want to believe the world will slow its spin and that someone will mourn our departure in that moment when we cease to exist.

But there is no one to mourn me after I am gone.  There is no reason to stop, or even slow, for a moment to grieve.  There is no one.  I am…alone.  Alone.

The world will spin without me.  The only thing I ever wanted is not to be.

To be young again. To have another chance.  To be loved.  Wanted.  Cared for.  To be able to do something that will make the world a different , better, more palatable place.  To leave something good behind.  I wanted so desperately to leave something worthwhile behind.

The world will spin without me.

It always has.

It always will.

Life goes on.

Whatever that mean.

The world will spin without me.  Long after I am gone.