Yesterday the dam broke. Something roared to the surface as well, something I have hinted at in past posts.
In my industry we have a saying, “close hold”. It means things that are not revealed, instead they are held closely to the chest. I have always treated my history as ‘close hold’; it is mine and mine alone. I will often hint at it, throw pebbles into passive lake waters to watch the ripple affect but my entire adult life I have treated most of my history as a dark secret. This ‘close hold’ in part has been a tribute to those who never deserved the gift of my silence. The other part has been the lesson learned so many years ago I have simply been unable to let it go the lesson of shame and fear.
I was told by one who should have loved me should have protected me, should have taught me to speak truth, chose instead to do no such thing. Instead they flung me into a vortex; an emotional black hole demanding my silence because the alternative was my own destruction and their shame, worse even than this would be the loss of esteem from the person I loved most in the world, I was convinced if I spoke up I would be spurned, found forever wanting. They convinced me, I was not believable, that even if I were to scream my pain and hurt, tell what was done to me no one would believe me. I was less than,I was …….
These were words thrown in anger at an eleven-year-old child. Words of power. Words of anger. Words burned into a soul still unformed and open. Words that fell like the Blacksmiths Pein on the soft Anvil that was my young and untrained heart. Words that would set my feet on a path for years to come. Convinced of my lack I would unwind what little of my ego remained and offer my heart and my body to anyone who would validate my conviction of valueless. Unable to fight back, I would accept the brutality even at times welcome it as it corroborated what I knew about myself, what I had been told; that I was less than and undeserving of love or care.
All this, all the brutality. All the loss because my mother wanted to preserve her standing. She failed an eleven year old child who had been gang raped. She failed to report. She failed even to tell that child’s father. She demanded that child’s silence and even blamed that child for the brutality of that rape.
That child was me. I knew who raped me and I would have to attend school with my rapists for two years. Because no action was taken against them I continued to be emotionally and physically brutalized by my classmates. Slut was something whispered in the halls as I walked by, not for something I did but for something my mother failed to do.
My heart was damaged, my core was broken and I retreated to an internal life, one I don’t believe I have ever quite stopped living in. My pragmatism is my strength and my defense. My views on forgiveness were formed in 1968, though I couldn’t have defined them as clearly as I can today they haven’t changed very much.
Life journeys are odd things. A family member told me 15 years ago that no one else in the family could have survived the shooting as I did; no one else was strong enough. I thought at the time, damn I don’t think I would wish that strength on anyone. I wish I wasn’t that strong, I wish I didn’t have, had never had those life experiences that made me strong enough to survive that.
Not all my parents have passed yet. Some have though, my biological and adopted fathers are both gone. The mother of my heart, my stepmother is gone. My biological mother and my adoptive mother are both still in this world.
My brother has said to me my mother did what she thought was best at the time, I will never accept this answer no person with a heart does what she did to a child thinking it was best for that child. We were both adopted but our experiences were very different. I have always wondered why, I don’t think we will ever know.