Sunday, February 6, 2011

I am the Hero of My Nightmares

I learned early this morning, before the sun woke up that I do not have to re-live violence in my sleep.

This post comes after one and a half weeks of writing nothing. 
I have found such peace in the work of forgiveness.
I have hesitated to write this all day.  At the day's end, I find that I must.  It could possibly cause a sliver of light to shine into the darkness where someone else may need to see what is, and what can be.

I start with a summary of what has caused re-occurring nightmares for the last twenty-four years.

I had slept over since Mom and Dad were at another church function.  Alone in the room with their infant daughter, I thought safety was a sure thing.
I woke up sometime in the night feeling smothered and trapped.  I awoke to the feeling of someone’s hand on my breasts.  When I opened my eyes, there he was kneeling over me, fondling me and then he started to kiss me.  
His kisses were hard.  There was no tenderness. 
His whiskers scratched my face reminding me of my dad’s five o’clock shadow.  Except this was different.  This guy was forcing his tongue in my mouth and I wasn’t sure what to do with it.  I pushed him away and told him this was not okay.  He was grinning such a wicked grin that I was frightened.
    “Please go away!”  I whispered.  “If you don‘t leave me alone, I will scream and you will be in big trouble.”
    “I’m sorry.  I thought  you would like it,” he responded.
    “No, I don’t.  Now please go away!”
    He left the room and when I heard their bedroom door shut, I started breathing again.  
I had to go to the bathroom so bad and a part of me was afraid to move.  A childhood fear clinched my heart and I was paralyzed on the bed.  I held it in as long as I could and when I thought my eyeballs would float out of their sockets, 

I picked up my seventeen year old scared self and tip-toed to the bathroom across the hall from where I was sleeping.  I quietly closed and locked the door and sat down on the stool doubled over with menstrual cramps.  Between the cramps that already existed and the fear that had caused my muscles to react, I was hurting very bad.  All I wanted to do was go back to bed, go to sleep and forget the pain and the fear that I now had.

Opening the door to the bathroom, there he stood, almost naked, except for bikini underwear.  I could smell an extra layer of his nasty Brut cologne, with cigarette smoke behind it.

From begging, pushing, crying out, having him clamp down to shut my mouth while sending shivers through me with his threats of what would happen if I told, I finally decided if I were going to live, I couldn't make much noise.  That was the worst form of self-betrayal I thought I had ever come to.
He managed to push me into a corner by pulling my gown over my head where I couldn't see, then pinning me down with the weight of his body.  
I remember hearing myself begging, "Please just stop.  Please don't do this.  Please go away."
Finally pinning me down, he was able to pull my arms up with my gown, then pull off my underwear.
At this point, I lost it.  I was begging for my dignity.  He could clearly see that I was bleeding and surely he would stop and go away.
    He shrugged as I begged and pleaded my case and he said, “I’ve been married three times.  I’ve done it this way before.”  

    In the darkest corner of my soul I knew he was speaking the truth.  How disgusting and he wasn’t going to stop.  There was nothing left for me to do but cry.  

    He pretended to understand my embarrassment and tried to kiss away tears.  I pushed him just enough to make him loose his balance. He got rougher than before and pinned me again.  He  pried my legs apart.  I was trapped and he was kissing my lips, my face and my neck.  His whiskers felt like a steel wool pad on my skin.  His body was laying against mine and he was fondling my breast so rough, I thought for sure they would be bruised.  

I felt him shift his weight he penetrated me with is penis.    
I was ashamed.  
I was petrified. 
I was worth nothing more than a beating that my dad would be glad to give me.
One last time I tried to get away.  He clinched his teeth and between his jagged breathing told me in a harsh voice just above a whisper just to enjoy this and if I told anyone about this, if I even breathed the wrong way he would hurt me bad.  My dad would know and I would be as good as dead.
He continued, ”you know if your Dad finds out he’ll think you are a whore.”
My heart skipped every other beat and he continued his movements until he had a steady rhythm as if he was taking what was left of me, and then he did. 

I didn’t ask for this!  I didn’t want this!  My body was betraying me.  This sick deranged man had stimulated me until my body was almost responding to his hard thrusts.  In one movement as he withdrew, I would try not to feel the sick pleasure of my private parts, and in another movement he would thrust his hardness inside me and I would ache.  It felt like he was bruising every part of my insides.  He was showing no mercy as he continued to move with his own sick pleasure.

I started to feel strange.  I felt like my spirit was floating above my body.  I could see what was happening but I had checked out.   I was feeling nothing anymore.  He couldn’t touch me.  Somehow I had found a way to build a steel wall of protection.  I watched him continue to use my body to satisfy his cravings and just before he was finished, he withdrew his penis and allowed himself to ejaculate all over my body.  I was covered from head to toe with his secretions.      

He pulled me up against him and whispered in my ear, “that wasn’t so bad was it?”
 Did he think it was all that great?  I had blood all over my stomach and a steady stream down my legs.  I was trying hard to wipe away what was left of him and as I was doing so I knew I had stepped back into my body because I was feeling more pain that I ever dreamed possible.
    He backed away, wiping himself off.  He pulled his underwear back on and walked out the door.
    I stood in this bathroom with his semen and my blood all over the floor, the wall and myself.  I was ruined forever.  I would never be the same.  I slowly cleaned up the mess and went back to the bedroom.  I wanted to take a bath and was all my sins down the drain.  I wanted to scrub myself until the pours of my skin forgot how he felt.  I was afraid to take a chance on waking up his wife.
After cleaning up as much as I could, I pulled my gown back down, it was wet, too,  I went to bed and fell into a deep - escaping sleep.
 I didn’t remember that night very much anymore.  After that any intimate encounter was just a motion and if I participated, you can bet I checked out of my body before I let myself feel anything again.  I lost all self-respect.  

I lost the ability to see myself as a loveable person.  I was no longer a Holy child of God, I was totally lost and I couldn’t even act as a poor lost soul and ask my Dad for help.  He would have beaten me and put an end to my worthless existence.  As far as enjoying relationships with a boyfriend, there was no such joy for me.  As far as being close to my friends, I built a fortress between myself and them as well.  They could never know who I really was or what had happened.  They would surely hate me as much as I hated myself.  

I know that was a heavy thing to include:
However, it is not without facing the whole truth, that I have found freedom.

For the past 24 years, there has not been one menstrual cycle that I have had that I haven't thought of that man and his actions to take away my power.

In the wee hours of the morning, I was awakened by the nightmare and cramps.  I don't have cramps as often as I used to.  The nightmare was more of a bad dream this time. 
Interestingly enough, I awoke as I normally do from that dream, as if I were walking away from the scene after it all happened.  I remember thinking in my dream, "this is not who I am now.  This is not something I have to keep re-living.  I can choose to let this go."

When I was awake enough to go to the bathroom, I didn't have ANY of the feelings I have always had right after this dream.  I didn't want to hide and run away.  I didn't need to get into a steamy hot shower to wash away filth.  I didn't even cry.

I was a little grumpy at first.  However, I think a lot of that was from the actual cramps.

There is an end to the nightmares.  I just lived it.  I just rescued myself from my own nightmares.  I have been able to take my power back.
This is not who I am. 
This was a really bad case of abuse. 
This was not personal to me.
It was about the abuser.
It was about power and his ability to satisfy his own needs and addictions.

I am okay.
I am forgiven.
I have taken my life back.
I have forgiven his actions.
I am whole.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Epiphany for the Moment! YES!

I am on a journey to forgiveness and healing.

Over the past few days, well since January 22nd, I have had a rush of memories, as reflected all posts prior to this.  Some of the writing was taking from my old journal.  As the memories came back, I found the journal and pulled it front and center to see if I had moved beyond many of the feelings I felt at the time I wrote.

I am happy to report that as of today, the storm has lifted.  The hovering black cloud of memories and heaviness is gone.  What brought it on?  Well, I know for certain what peeled the scab back, I wrote about it here. 

I'm searching and learning and asking questions and exploring the options of what heals, what is the secret to letting go.  I have a dear friend who has been kind enough to be completely honest without tearing the wounds open even farther.  In the process, I am learning a lot about myself.

My journey is about COMPLETE forgiveness.  I am a grown, successful mother, wife, friend, etc. . . My career(s) have been more successful than I ever dreamt.  They continue to launch me into opportunities that I once only dreamed of. 
Those who know me, see me as a happy, successful, funny person.  Those who REALLY know me(there may be three people), know the look of "the cloud" when it overshadows me.  This cloud is kind of like Haley's comet.  It only appears once in a decade or a thousand years. . . whichever.  At any rate, it is not something that overshadows my daily life. 

The cloud can only be triggered when there is a "threat" made to my sister's life.  OH CRAP.  I'm not rehearsing this or writing before posting and I just wrote something that is a trigger for my junk.  When my sister's life was threatened way back then, I did everything I could to rescue her.  In the end, she was still molested, taught to drink and smoke by age 11 and still crashed and burned.  Then, it was my turn to get burned.  And it was a real burn.

This is an ah-ha moment!!!!  No really, it is! Right now!  So, every time my sister has old behaviors that are unhealthy as residual from "our" past abuse, it triggers me to go back and try to save her from herself and the perpetrator!  THAT IS A LINK to my cloud! 

Okay, I'm really gonna post this!  And I'm gonna stop right here.  I'm going to be with this moment. . . . just as soon as I give this post a title. 

By the way, thanks for listening. . . . that's all we really need sometimes is to talk so that we can hear our own voice. . . then the voice inside will show us the silver lining behind the cloud right?  YES Indeed!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Daddy Threatened to Beat Me

        It was a hot summer afternoon and one of the men from our church was helping Daddy fix something at our house.  Daddy had to make a run to the local hardware store, so they left me at the house along with the man’s son.  His son was four years older than me. 
        When the guys came back from the store, Daddy looked at me with such scorn, I began to wander if Satan had taken over his body.  No, wait, maybe Daddy thought that Satan had taken over mine.
        Later that afternoon Daddy was on the front porch, enjoying the sunshine while he watched me play.  For some reason or the other, I had chosen to stay at home with Daddy as apposed to going to the store with Mama.  So here we were outside when Daddy asked me,     “What did y’all do while we went to the store?”
    “We played outside on the swing, why?”  
There was a tire swing Daddy had hung from a great big oak tree and everyone that came to our house to play loved to swing on it.
    “If you ever let any boy touch you in any way their not supposed to, I’ll beat the daylights out of you!  Do you understand?”  His bark was loud!
    I drew in a breath.  “Yes, Daddy.  Why did you say that?”
    “I just don’t want you to do anything you’re not supposed to!  You‘d better respect yourself and be a lady!”
    That whole conversation spooked me and shook my soul.
       One Sunday afternoon, shortly after that,  a family invited us to their home for lunch between services.  Their son had a brand new sports car.  He asked if I wanted to ride to church that evening in his new car. 
       "I would love to!"  I said.
       He told me he just had to run an errand and stop by his place of employment to make sure things were going okay.  I believed that to be truth.  Mama and Daddy let me go.   I was fourteen and he was twenty-one.  He had always shown a great deal of respect around my family and at church.  Everyone trusted him, including me.
            Upon arrival at his place of employment, he asked if I wanted to see where he worked and I said, “Sure.  Why not?”  
      So we went in and after walking through the place we came to a room that was away from everything else and he said he had to step in and make sure the other people had left things the way they were supposed to. 
“Let me just give you a kiss.  I’m not going to hurt you.  Besides, who’s going to know?  Here we are, alone, just you and me.  I won’t tell if you won’t.”
            As convincing as he sounded, I knew it wasn’t right.  But then he leaned down and looked me in the eyes.  His eyes were warm.  They were sincere.  He told me I was pretty.  That never happened before.  I was flattered!
Then he touched my lips with his.  I got dizzy.  He had the softest lips.  I found myself wanting his kiss.  
I felt him gently touching my leg and I didn't stop him, as his other arm still encircled me. 
As he did, his hand met my skin and I could not make myself say no. 
      I felt him lift my legs, one at a time until I was wrapped around him.  As he re-arranged me, he unfastened his pants.  He lifted me up and then without warning set me down on what felt like an object much larger than what I could handle.  It hurt!  Oh, the pain that shot through me made me so weak and he didn’t actually penetrate me.  I stiffened up and unwrapped myself from him.  I instantly was brought back to reality and realized that what was happening was so wrong.  If I describe that pain, it would be what I imagine equivalent to being prodded with a baseball bat.
      I was crying.  I was hurting.  I was scared.  I had let him touch me.  I asked him to take me back to where my mama and daddy were.  
      He told me he was sorry that sometimes the first time hurt and maybe we should try it a different way.  I didn't stick around to find out.  I ran out the door and back to his car.
I felt dirty for the rest of the day and still had that evening church service to get through.  

     By the end of that summer, almost every guy in the church where we were going had been told by my friend what he had done.
     And almost every boy in my life at least four years older than me had touched me in some way or another.  No one had actually taken my virginity and I hadn’t given it away.  But I knew all about oral sex, giving and receiving.  I knew the feel of a guy’s tongue on my breasts.  I knew that I had already been condemned to hell and at this point in my life Daddy had started telling me when he saw me in pants that I was going to hell no matter what unless I changed my clothes. 
            A part of me wanted to run to him and tell him of the situation.  I wanted badly to tell Daddy how it felt to have older guys hold me down while others looked at my secret places and touched me in such a dishonorable way.  

          I wanted to scream at him and tell him about the Saturday night when everyone was supposed to be having a pitch-in at the other pastor's house, two boys had taken me behind the shrubs at the street lamp and while one held me down the other one pulled my underwear off and pried my legs apart just to see what a girl looks like in the dark.  And if that wasn’t enough they left me laying there crying while they ran to tell the other boys all about it.   

     I toyed with the idea that maybe if Daddy knew that I was at the mercy of boys much bigger than me, then maybe he would rescue me.   I wanted to beg him for forgiveness because sometimes it felt good to be touched that way.  I wanted him to know that I didn’t consent to being touched every time even though it felt good sometimes.  But Daddy would
have beaten the daylights out of me.   I knew what that beating felt like.  It wasn't a chance I was willing to take.

   So, I kept my secrets from Daddy and everyone else.  I was threatened either way.  
And because I had enjoyed the feeling of that pleasure a couple times, I felt like the sinner Daddy kept telling me I was.
    In the end, the beating I was giving myself, was so much worse than what Daddy had threatened to do.