I find myself at such a loss for words as I look at this blank, white, empty screen. I have not written for myself in a long, long time -- I think it's been years. I used to write fairly often. Mostly by way of private posts on Xanga, posts that only I could see. But many of those are gone too. I deleted a great majority of them (as well as many of the my previous posts on this Blogspot). I wrote in several journals and then later ripped all the pages out to throw them away. I have not left in existence a single physical journal of mine.
It was because I was ashamed of my thoughts, my feelings, my emotions. I could never bear to look back again at the words I wrote. The bitterness. The despair. The hatred. The wholly heartbrokenness that I am only now beginning to understand. The glaring flaws in myself that, in hindsight, seemed to be so deafeningly magnified by the clumsy voice -- undoubtedly, unbelievably, my voice -- daring to speak my thoughts.
And so I silenced myself and fled from myself these past several years. I stopped writing. I stopped talking. I stopped sharing myself with people. I wanted to bury myself away.
I don't want to do that anymore.
People generally seem to live in reaction to one or several major experiences of their lives and in this way form their ways of life, intentionally or unintentionally. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Some resolve to live with absence of fear (as much as possible) because they do not wish anything to inhibit them from achieving and succeeding. Some make it a mission to always be kind, for Jesus says so. And some live in constant denial and distrust. And so on.
I am realizing only now that the way I have been living the past four to six years of my life has been a direct reaction to a major, major event in my life that I didn't even begin to comprehend until the start of college. Even now, three years later and starting my senior year of college, I can barely wrap my mind around it. I never understood before how one experience of your life could be so defining of who you are. Even after my dad left my family when I was 15, left my three siblings and my mom and I to starve and face eviction from our house and from our next three apartments after that, I was ok. I was still me and life was not unbearable. Life for my family since then has been unbelievably difficult, but still, it wasn't the end of the world (though it may have seemed pretty close to it). I always saw myself as a pretty resilient person no matter how much shit the world gave me. But starting around three or four years ago, I began to piece together some of the things that I experienced when I was younger, and with this initial period of grasping and realizing, I began to shut down.
This one experience of my life -- an experience that happened when I was eleven -- I never really gave much thought to after I passed those years. My family was always a disturbed one, now I realize, but when you're a child, all that seems normal to you. It wasn't all that strange to me that several times a year, neighbors would bring police to our door because my parents would be screaming so loudly that people feared violence. It wasn't an inconceivable occurrence that one of those times, my dad did indeed spend a night in jail because he gave my mom a black eye. And so, it wasn't ludicrous to me as an eleven-year-old when my dad began to start touching me. Sometimes in front of my little brother. I wouldn't let him do it in the beginning, but he would say to me, "I'm your father. I'm allowed to do it. Don't you trust me?"
"I'm teaching you now how it feels, so you know in the future to never let a boy do this to you. If you trust me, you'll let me do this."
This went on for maybe a year. I don't really remember. He started to sleep in my bed instead of my mom's. I vigorously remember despising the feeling of his tongue in my mouth. One time, he went a step further and told me to take my pants off.
I refused, and so he said once again what he said the whole time: "Don't you trust me?"
This scared me, and so I started crying and ran to my mom's bed. She may have assumed I just had a nightmare. I never told her what happened, and I don't think I ever will. I never told anyone for at least nine years.
After the night I ran to my mom crying, it stopped. He was probably scared that I would tell someone. He never mentioned it. Four years later when my parents divorced, my three siblings were the only ones who spoke to him. Neither my mom nor I would speak to him. Several years after the divorce, people started asking me if I would ever forgive him or talk to him again. Friends asked me why my siblings spoke to him, but I didn't. Even my mother, the good Christian woman she is, asked me why I wouldn't speak to him or forgive him.
I didn't really know why either. It wasn't just because he dumped my family and left us to struggle in barely subsisting. It wasn't just because he told my siblings lies. It wasn't just because he cheated on my mom with some woman he met online. It was much more than that, that much I knew, but I couldn't explain any more than that. I didn't bother explaining anything to anyone. I know some of my closest friends have thought of me these past several years as a bitter, unforgiving, and cold person because of it. The first person I told -- my ex-boyfriend -- would later take this tender information and use it against me in his possessive insecurity and dismiss me as having "daddy issues."
In a coarse and brute way, yes, I guess you can call my personal problems "daddy issues," but... seriously?
I buried those memories for nine years, but when they began resurfacing at the start of college, resurface they did in tumultuous, overwhelming waves. The memories and the images began to haunt me almost every single day for two years. After that, it got a little better.
Nine years after it all happened, in the first year of college, was the first time I could even think to myself: "My dad molested me." The irony is that I was never once during my childhood allowed to sleepover at friends' places because, according to my dad, "their parents might rape or molest you. You never know what can happen."
I couldn't digest it. Ever since then, while in the process of sifting through my memories, I have looked at this world in a dark, dark light. I could only see pain and hurt around me everywhere I looked. Maybe because I couldn't see any good in my life, I couldn't see any good in this world. My world was effectively flipped upside down.
It has been a long, long journey these past few years, and maybe I will write more about it later. But I am drained for now.
My choice to publicly post this entry is spurred by a couple reasons.
First and foremost, because I have a steadily strengthening belief that it is of essential importance to speak and to share. Especially in our current culture of social media, where everyone wants to create picture-perfect images of their happy lives. I think it's good that people are attempting to highlight the happiness and the small joys in their lives, but I also think it's damaging and illusionary to never acknowledge the moments that are not so happy. Why should people only share their joys with each other, and not their sorrows? Life is, oftentimes, difficult and tough and overwhelming and unbearable. Isolation and silence only augments that.
And because I think isolation and silence only further distances the hurting and the lonely, I want to speak. To those I know as well as to those whom I do not know. My story is by no means a rare story. My story is sadly a common story. We hear it all the time in the news. We hear it too much, some people will say -- it's an old and everyday story in the news. But it is old and everyday because things like this happen far more often than any of us realize -- and I am writing because I want people to know that this is not just a "news" story. I want my friends and acquaintances to be aware that this happens to your friends and family. And I don't know how many people among my own friends have experienced something similar to what I have experienced, but I want them to know that they are not alone. And that everything is going to be okay. This is our journey together.