Worthless Toy

I have been very detailed in my stories. Vividly recalling the events of my past. I have struggled with how to recall the molestation, and the rape, with the same vivid details. The truth is, I don’t want to write down those vivid details. They are burned in my brain, and that is a part of me that I don’t want to recall in detail in print. I will write about these events, as they are a part of my story. But please forgive my struggle for words as I carry on writing about the next few years:

As time went on, I began advancing in school. Enough that the teachers were struggling to help me. The curriculum was mailed to the church from ACE, a national Christian curriculum company. The students would get five packets at a time of various subjects and progress quickly or slowly. The pace was up to them. The packets generally consisted of a few pages of information, followed by questions, then a quiz, repeat the first three steps a few times, and at the end of the packet was a test on all the information. The students checked their own work. The teachers were volunteers from the church, most of them were parents of students. We sat in rows of desks against the wall. If we had a question we set a flag on top of the desk and waited for a teacher. The days were generally pretty quiet. Unless someone was in the office getting yelled at. Since I had been advancing faster than I should have, the principals decided to have me help some of the younger students. I thoroughly enjoyed this. We had some students for which English was their second language, and I helped them learn to read. I loved, and still love, helping people.

I am babysitting more often now, for one of the associate pastors. I watch their four boys and my sister, all under the age of four, three evenings a week during Institute. They lived downstairs in the church and Institute was held upstairs. Institute was basically glorified Bible study in which you may be subject to public ridicule or beating on any given night, and they charged $250 a month. You also couldn’t attend until you were 18, which is how I ended up babysitting because Samantha is 18 now and she can attend Institute instead of babysit. One class was taught by Pastor M, another by Pastor W, and the third night rotated around to associate pastors. Institute was only meant to last a few hours in the evening, but it almost always ended up lasting until 11pm or later. We would almost always hear yelling and stomping from upstairs, and it scared the babies. In spite of this,  I loved babysitting.

Charlie used to come knock on the window and we would talk. He would stand outside and I would stand inside. These times were nice and I enjoyed the conversation. Things started progressing a little more physically. I always imagined that I would get my first kiss before things went farther. He would never say anything, and I would try to avoid his hands. I didn’t want to put up too much of a fuss and draw attention, I remembered the public ridicule when I told about Ted grabbing my leg under the desk (which is still happening every day). I am not comfortable with all of this touching, and I’m confused. This doesn’t feel normal. Are other people going through this? Is there anyone I can talk to about this? Two of Pastor W’s sons, and I’ve already told on one with no results in my favor. I wanted to trust Charlie, is this what I’m supposed to do to be in a relationship with him? Maybe. I told myself that things would change, maybe this was a sign that he did want to be with me, and that he wouldn’t shy away from me or make fun of me when other people were around. I was wrong. He still shied away and he still made fun of me in front of others. Then he would take advantage of me when we were alone. I felt my sense of self worth slowly slipping away. I am just a toy in this game, and I don’t know how to escape.

Outside of the unwanted physical situations, I tried my best to act normal. I had a hard time finding a center. I didn’t want to act too withdrawn, someone would notice. Too happy, I would get in trouble for being arrogant. I did my best to keep an even keel, but even that failed me at times. I had a pit in my stomach every day, it felt tight and knotted. I anticipated trouble every day, although it didn’t happen daily. My skin felt hyper sensitive and the slightest sensation gave me chills. I didn’t want anyone to touch me, not even a hug. It was not wanted. I was not consciously aware of these things, it was a way of life. A way of life that drained my adrenal glands, as they were used constantly. A way of life that I can share with you now. A way of life that I will never have to experience again, and for that I am grateful.

~E

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Unforgiven

Rocking out in the car. That’s what the boys and I do every morning on our way to school. Today was no exception. Naturally, when Metallica came on, I turned it up. Unforgiven is one of my favorite songs. I feel like I relate to the baby/boy/man in that song. I will share the lyrics with you now:

New blood joins this earth,
And quickly he’s subdued.
Through constant pained disgrace
The young boy learns their rules.

With time the child draws in.
This whipping boy done wrong.
Deprived of all his thoughts
The young man struggles on and on he’s known
A vow unto his own,
That never from this day
His will they’ll take away.

What I’ve felt,
What I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown.
Never be.
Never see.
Won’t see what might have been.

What I’ve felt,
What I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown.
Never free.
Never me.
So I dub thee unforgiven.

They dedicate their lives
To running all of his.
He tries to please them all –
This bitter man he is.

Throughout his life the same –
He’s battled constantly.
This fight he cannot win –
A tired man they see no longer cares.

The old man then prepares
To die regretfully –
That old man here is me.

What I’ve felt,
What I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown.
Never be.
Never see.
Won’t see what might have been.

What I’ve felt,
What I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown.
Never free.
Never me.
So I dub thee unforgiven.

[Solo]

What I’ve felt,
What I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown.
Never be.
Never see.
Won’t see what might have been.

What I’ve felt,
What I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown.
Never free.
Never me.
So I dub thee unforgiven.

Never free.
Never me.
So I dub thee unforgiven.

You labelled me,
I’ll label you.
So I dub thee unforgiven.

Never free.
Never me.
So I dub thee unforgiven.

You labelled me,
I’ll label you.
So I dub thee unforgiven.

Never free.
Never me.
So I dub thee unforgiven.

~End

Today I heard the words “die regretfully” and I was struck. Do you ever have those moments where thoughts come into your head, uninvited? And they surprise you? That happens to me a lot, and it can be amazing and life-changing. Today I embraced these thoughts, because I knew they were powerful. I nearly started crying. I know I must do. I must forgive, I will forgive, am I ready to forgive? It sounds weird, but I am afraid to forgive. For so long I have said that I don’t know if I can forgive. I have become comfortable with the pain and the anger that I have felt. I have been able to cope and feel peaceful, but there is something missing. Forgiveness. When I left the cult, I was on a fast track to live my life the way that I wanted. No one could stop me. I wanted to experience everything that I had dreamed of and felt I was missing. I would die with no regrets. What I realized today was: To die with no regrets means that I must forgive.

This does not mean that what they did was okay. This does not mean that I won’t feel the pain or anger again. This only means that I am willing to take a step of healing.

So please be with me as I take this step. I am not even sure that I believe this and I’m sure I will have to do this repeatedly. I take deep breaths as I say:

To my abusers, and those who stood by without protest, I forgive you. I choose to live in peace, and without regret.

~E

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What have you to learn

 

I wish that I could tell you,

How it haunts me every day.

This smile that I wear

Is so you think that I’m okay.

 

You go to work and grumble,

just like everybody else.

And yet when you go home,

You can put it on a shelf.

 

I get no breaks; it never stops

The thoughts don’t leave my head.

It’s weird to know they never will

Not until I’m dead.

 

I thought about it, long ago:

suicide.

It seemed the only escape

I couldn’t stop the memories

Of beatings nor the rape.

 

But you don’t need to know this

And I don’t want your advice:

“Think positive”

“Be nice.”

 

What if my “disorder”

Was really called “disease”

Like cancer, pneumonia, dysentery?

Then would you be pleased?

 

Would it make you happy,

To see some outward pain?

To see scars on the outside?

Not just my guilt and shame.

 

I wish that you could see

How the triggers stop me cold.

A sight, a sound, a smell

the memories unfold.

 

The memories they come so fast

And then they fade away.

Here I’m left to gather myself

I’ll live another day.

 

I long for greater awareness:

PTSD, anxiety, depression

and the list goes on and on.

 

I’ve learned to live

I’ve learned to love

I’ve learned to sing my song.

 

Some are not as lucky,

They don’t have the will to fight

They lost it on the battlefield

They will linger in the night.

 

I wish that you would think

Before you judge another creature

What could they be going through?

How could they be your teacher?

~E