Nowhere To Hide

hidden child

I went into my trauma therapy session this past Thursday with no hesitation. We would continue to work on the timeline of my life. We were well past the worst of my trauma,  so no worries, Right? I soon realized that I had lost three years of my life, remembering nearly nothing. Why? I dug deep, recalling a couple of playground accidents. I tried so hard to stay invisible, blend in, stay safe. I hated the attention drawn by  the accidents. I never felt that I fit in. I always knew there was something wrong with me. I recalled walking home from school one day, being taunted by a group of older boys walking behind me, nowhere to hide. They were laughing telling tales of how pregnancy takes place. I knew it was directed at me, but why? Every question leads to another answer.

Playing kick the can in the after dark, I was cornered. One of those older boys, older by four years, unzipped and grabbed my hand, and said, “Touch my worm. It’s just a worm. Feel that?”  After he zipped up, he said, “Now go home. No one wants you here. You’re going to be in so much trouble if anyone finds out what you did to me.” Why did I go play? I thought I could be invisible in the dark, and yet maybe I could belong and still stay safe. So the taunting on the way home from school was to make further sport of me, to plant the fear that I could be pregnant. I didn’t even possess the verbal skills or knowledge of conception to comprehend. I was smart, though. Self  preservation pushed me to cross the street, let them get ahead of me, and turn the opposite direction. I can still hear their laughter.

I left my appointment reeling from yet another recollection. It wasn’t really new, just another creepy thing that I had set aside. I told my husband. He said nothing, just stared at me. Maybe I didn’t say it out loud? I repeated it. He said, “That’s really gross,” and then went back to whatever was more important or less disturbing in his phone. I get it, he’s tired of it and doesn’t know what to say. I had nightmares, the cop who had raped me when he was 14 and I was 4 years old was there with the worm kid and his friends. He got the gun in my mouth. The boys were laughing. I wanted him to pull the trigger this time. I woke crying, terrified, and completely alone. Why did they pick me? I tried so hard to remain invisible. I know it’s common for victims to be re-victimized by multiple people at different times in different places. Like dogs who smell fear, perpetrators smell out victims, easy marks. Someone else had paved the way for them. I was easy pickings. Yet the question remains, why was I chosen? I know it wasn’t my fault. I want clarity and understanding. What, exactly was it about me that caused them to choose me? Was it the way I looked? Was I too timid? Did I laugh or accidentally do something that drew attention to me? I need to know, to understand. I also realize that there will never be a revelation that helps me grasp any of it.

I haven’t had a moment to process until now. This process is lonely and isolating. I’ve been faking it to my family who have been around. I take countless phone calls from a daughter in crisis, and I’m present as she hashes and rehashes her recent break up. I have three places of freedom; Being alone with my grandson, I soak up the moments of joy he brings. We had a wish party with dandelions yesterday, which is a victory I will explain in another story, beautiful for many reasons. I have a chat room where all but one person know nothing of my past. I can go there and be myself. I fit in. I’m overcoming the need to be invisible. I get to be my fun, goofy, true self with no fear. It’s a safe place, and I relax there, enjoying people from around the globe, who are all there for simply the fun and interaction. The third place is here, where I can tell my story without judgement, even if it’s never read. Telling it, if only to the ether, is still freeing.

I feel that no one in my life wants to hear about it. They’re tired or uncomfortable, so they can be off the hook. I’m living it. I have no choice but to see it through, even knowing that there might and probably will be more painful revelations. Once that timeline is complete, I will have the whole picture. The understanding and “ah ha” moments help me to connect the dots, why I am the way I am, why I wish to be invisible, why I rarely feel that I fit in, even within my own family. I have my place here and a purpose. They love me, but currently I’m held at arm’s length. As soon as I reveal any of this to anyone, it seems I’m held at arm’s length. I get it. No one knows what to say or do. I don’t blame them. They get to set it aside. I don’t have that luxury.

I feel defeated. I’m so very tired. I want to give up. I want to disappear. There is no escape, only moving forward, trusting the process, and a small hope that one day this will all be integrated into who I am. These will be events, things that happened, and the pain will subside. That’s the goal, right? I’m in a dark and lonely place. I am, however, grateful for the small reprieves I get where it goes to the far corner of my mind, and I still experience joy for small moments. Those tiny moments of joy and the hope that I will be whole again ar the only things keeping me going. So, if anyone is reading this, thanks for listening and taking the time to hear me. A burden shared is lightened, if even by the smallest measure.