YOU ARE TRIGGER WARNED
I am writing this to get it fully out of my way, so I can totally breakthrough my silence — because there doesn’t seem to be any other way forward for me. And, I have things to do.
For giving me courage to move forward, I thank Viola Davis. Ms. Davis shared how her sister’s life was touched and burned by the same acid as mine: Childhood Sexual Abuse. As Ms. Davis described the harm done to her sister’s life, I saw the damage done to mine — and I felt more sane. That harm and damage are the real reasons for the messiest, hardest parts of my life, too. It’s cost me so much: years of crippling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), social awkwardness, adrenal fatigue, hyper-vigilance, avoidance of walking on public streets in fear of falling masonry, fear of riding in elevators, fear of using public restrooms, and fear of short-sleeved peasant blouses.
I’m acknowledging all the (mostly) women I see in the media who have spoken up about their childhood sexual abuse. Their courage encourages me.
I’m especially thanking my friends and loved ones. They heard me and loved me through this. My closest family gave me the go ahead to speak out. And, I thank Andrew Vachss. He’s the crime fiction author, child protection consultant, and attorney exclusively representing children and youths. Vachss created my “big brother” Burke. Burke walked me back and forth to work, during my 20’s and 30’s. He held my hand on the commuter trains, by way of the novels resting in my pocket or purse — while I did my best to be an everyday person, like everyone else.
And right now, I’m thanking Janelle Monae for the lyrics “I don’t want to live on my knees. I just want to tell the truth.” So, I’m about to give no fux.
My silence is tied to the perfected practice of saving my life. I learned it first as a nine year old child — that is when my father killed me.
He raped me on a Saturday morning, early. My Mother had gone to the supermarket. She was getting the shopping done while the family slept — just being efficient. My Mother probably wanted to get the groceries without taking her three young kids along to the store. My Mother thought she could trust her husband.
While she was out, my father walked across the house, passed the pantry closet, the kitchen, and the foot of the dining room table, and into my bedroom. He had every step of the way to think about raping his daughter. My father woke me up and asked me if I wanted to come sleep in his bed. I remember thinking how I was too old for doing such things, but then okay, I’ll do it, because it might not happen again.
I should have run from that monster screaming for my life.
There are things I don’t remember about what happened next. I used to try to recall, in case the blank spots in my memory meant there was even more wrong with me than was obvious. And, in case my healing depended on it. After many years, I decided that it’s a blessing. My mind is clearly trying to protect me. I thank it.
I do remember my white cotton nightgown with eyelet lace, and the peasant-style blouse I wore later that day. For most of my life I’ve never worn clothes like those again. Yeah. for me those clothing styles are haunted. Dangerous. In my 40’s I finally bought a cotton eyelet nightgown. I still cannot put on a blouse with short, puffed sleeves. How ridiculous is that: Puffed sleeve phobia.
It’s as if the nightgown betrayed me. And, the blouse only reminds me of my anger and cowardice in not telling my Mom when she came home. I picked that puffed sleeve blouse to wear while I thought about what to say when Mom came into the house. I put it on and stepped out of my bedroom. Mom was bustling in with the groceries and my brothers and I pitched in to help. All so normal. I just went with the normal. I was afraid of that monster seeing me try to speak to her alone. And worse, I suddenly feared that she knew and was in on it. I couldn’t face that. I remember thinking that would “tear” my brain and finish me. I could feel it starting. Just writing this account makes me feel it: a burning line, starting from my hairline above my left eye and radiating backwards.
Do children usually get Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)? No. But at the end of the winter holidays I ended up in the hospital with a severe case. My Mother rushed me there one night. Somewhere there must be a record of it. Years later I read that UTI’s are common for children like me: Children of the Secret.
But let me say this: I got into his bed innocently and turned over to go to sleep, but he wouldn’t let me. He gripped my nine year old arms hard, and forcefully turned my body towards his. And when I realized something wrong was going to happen — and that there was no possible, possible escape, I fled from my body. Suddenly, I was up near the ceiling, looking down. I was floating there, still wearing my white nightgown. I can feel it laying against the back of my legs, and the front of it hanging down in the air below me.
I remember it too clearly. I wonder if I died because I stopped breathing. Up there, breathing wasn’t needed and my old life certainly ended. I’ve released trying to recall what exactly he did to my body, because I understand now that I wasn’t in my body at the time.
Psychically speaking, my experience of fleeing my body and floating also means I know out of body experiences (OOBE) are real. I only returned to my body because it startled me to be up there, above the dresser, near my Mother’s closet. Out of my body and watching. I wish I’d stayed up there, longer. I wish my OOBE was a cool, happier memory.
It messes with my psychic abilities, though, too. I don’t fully channel like Esther Hicks, because I won’t relinquish full control of my body. And, I only travel out of body during sleep.
Lights have danced around me as I write this. Giving me support in breaking through and speaking up. Maybe it’s my deceased Mother or that monster’s Mother — my Nana. Maybe my Brothers are showing up. They both passed into Nonphysical over the last months — leaving no one else in the Physical from my family of origin, except that monster and me.
For a few months after it happened, I convinced myself that my real father had been kidnapped and this man who raped me was an impostor. But then, I realized we weren’t important like that. No spy would choose our family for that. We weren’t even a military household. There was no strategic value.
Then, I tried to block it all out. Besides, my Mother loved him. I didn’t want to ruin her Prince Charming story.
But when I turned 12, and it all came back to me. I thought everyone could tell. And I wanted to tell.
I looked at him once, with all of it in my eyes. I was washing dishes, and he was walking past the dining room. He paused in the darkness, at the foot of the dinner table. And quietly, he said, “If you ever look at me like that again, I will kill you.” I believed him. He’s the kind of family destroyer who would sooner kill us all and then himself to avoid the scandal. Years later I even found a loaded gun in the house, at the bottom of a cedar chest. I wiped it down, took it apart, and tossed the pieces into vacant, overgrown lots. That monster would have killed me and the rest of us.
After his death threat I really started perfecting my silence. I always tightly held my lips closed and clamped my teeth on the tip of my tongue, to keep myself from screaming it out. From telling someone. This is me finally allowing myself to break my perfect silence.
I am posting this on my website because I have so much else that’s different and actually joyful that I have to say and have been given to say. And, I’m breaking this silence once and for all to do it. The shame is his, not mine.
Living with fear has cost me so much already. Millions of dollars in lost opportunities and, in finding a cure for my PTSD. And, it’s simply kept me from being fully expressed as a human being.
I have gray hairs now. Every time I see them I get giddy because they prove I’m still here. And while I’m still here, I’m claiming all the rest of my life. However it turns out. There are no guarantees of success, but at least I’ll get to be fully me while I’m here. As Kendrick Lamar wrote it in “All The Stars” – “A small percentage is who I’m building with. I want the credit if I’m losing or winning, on my Mama that’s the realest shit.”
I just want my own true life.
One of my best and dearest friends wanted me to share my story because of how much I achieved despite what happened. How I managed to have a successful career, find my true love, start businesses, live in my dream house — by the ocean and under green leaves; heal my body, accept being a psychic, and help establish love in the center of my family for the next generations.
I offer this as a partial testimony of my life, as a prayer and as proof for others who have survived violence and trauma. There is true hope for Thriving, Healing and real Joy.
Copyright 2021 Auset O’Neal. All Rights Reserved.