Chapter 1 of the Trust Series.
Let’s just come out with it. My first childhood memory? Repetitive sexual abuse from my baby-sitter’s son. My well-being was daily entrusted to a woman with 5 children. Rightfully so, my parents believed this woman was fit to keep an eye on another one. And honestly, she probably was. I would imagine that to this day she still has no idea what was going on under her roof when she wasn’t looking.
As a child, of course, nap time was a requirement. I was given a couch while the youngest son of the bunch went up to his room. The rest of the kids would pack up into the old mini-van and head out for errands. I won’t say the oldest son was always the one to stay home during this time – I don’t remember, it all blurs together – but I will say he must’ve volunteered a lot because I honestly don’t remember ever actually taking a nap.
For the people in my life who tease me when I make the comment “I don’t take naps.” This is why. It doesn’t create a feeling of rest or relaxation… obviously.
Maybe one day I’ll write out the details, but I don’t think that’s necessary right now. What I will share is that I was the victim in the story of a high school boy’s discovery of his sexuality. I didn’t volunteer, I didn’t give my consent, and I definitely haven’t forgotten about it.
Oddly enough, I have empathy for him. There wasn’t an adult male-figure present to teach him or guide him. He was only a teenager who, at the time, likely had no idea he was committing a crime. And I have this image in my head that at some point in his life he realized what he did and is likely beating himself up for it. Humans do bad things sometimes… and for what it’s worth, I hope he’s found peace.
But, I also have a deep anger towards him. Rightfully so. I mean, I didn’t even know what sex or sexuality was and I didn’t get the chance to explore it. It was just thrust upon me in my innocence, and I developed the mental connections of “shame” and “fear.” Not choice. Not love. Not even connection.
As you can imagine, there was a lot of confusion rolling around in that little girl’s mind and body. And the details are foggy as to why, but I didn’t tell anyone about it. Did he ask me to keep it a secret? Did I somehow instinctually know this was something “wrong,” that made me feel embarrassed and shut down? I kept it a secret for over 10 years.
There are some details that are crystal clear, and some that I can’t remember at all. The moment that is the most clear, the one I can still feel in my gut, is the moment I realized what had actually happened. I was 3 when it started. I was 9 when I sat in 3rd grade health class and learned what sex was. I distinctly remember not being able to breathe. I felt disgust, anger, and embarrassment creep up my spine and I actually believed everyone in the room knew my secret. I became extremely aware of my physical presence, felt a deep instinct to hide, and developed the understanding that I wasn’t like everyone else.
What I believed about myself: damaged, used, outcast, victim, I need to be quiet, I need to hide myself, I have shame.
What I believed about other people: can’t be trusted, dangerous, take what they need without asking, every man for him/her-self in this world.
In an effort to start creating a life in which I thrive, I’ve created a “New Reality.” The purpose of this tool (as described in my previous post) is to reverse-engineer a better, but still true, reality. And I’m going to stare at it, re-read it, and flood my conscious mind with it until I fully believe it, solidifying it in my subconscious.
Honestly, even writing it out helped. It was like taking control of how I get to feel about my life, instead of what seemed to be forced upon me. I believe I’ve gained some ground today…!
As always, thank you for the space to be raw and real. Every step we take together strengthens the bonds within this beautiful MAVERICK community. And please, if you feel lead to, share your stories too. We’re hitting some heavy topics, and sometimes it just feels good to know we aren’t alone in our “messes.” While we all experience hurt differently, emotional pain feels the same. There’s no such thing as “worse” or “not as bad.” Please hear that.
I’m always open to connect… that’s what this community is for.
Until next week, MavPack! Chapter 2 awaits…