So this week brought another rehearsal for the Vagina Monologues. This year the women presenting are sharing their own stories. And, as usual, it's stirring up some deep shit for me.
"Why didn't you tell?"
That's a question I hear over and over. Who should I have told?
My MOTHER? I still can't decide if she knew all along and turned a blind eye or if she was genuinely clueless to the abuse happening in her own home. I try to puzzle out if this is why she acted so horribly toward my abuser. I can't imagine a scenario where she believed me over her precious sons. Her precious sexual abuser sons. Could she believe a truth that shatters the veneer of her life?
I will finally tell her when I an 47 and she is 79 and she will become another of those to ask, "Why didn't you tell?" The truth is an answer she doesn't want to hear. She will ask me to leave her home two weeks after hearing it and then pretend she did not ever after. On that day she will tell me, "I just can't look at you." And these will remain the most hurtful words anyone has ever uttered to me. I know what she means, that I have disrupted her golden years with my ugly truth. I will move out, move on. But I will carry the hurt of those words to my grave, "I-just-can't-look-at-you."
Should I have told my FATHER? My dad owned a gun, had fought in WWII, had an old-fashioned pedestal view of women and girls and a lightning-qick temper. His daughter supreme among them all. Knowing his son had deliberately and cruelly hurt his daughter repeatedly in THAT WAY would have resulted in the death of my brother, the imprisonment of my dad for murder, and further estrangement from my mother for daring to pull back the curtain and reveal the seamy inner workings of my circus freak show family.
Should I have told a TEACHER? A nun? Yeah, asked and answered in one. I do wonder why no one ever remarked on the previously tidy child who arrived daily from the fourth grade to the eighth grade dishevelled and disarrayed. I'm sure they just blamed my mom for going back to work and leaving her children home alone. As if we weren't alone anyway.
I did try to tell my PRIEST. But he laughed at me and dismissed me. He single-handedly killed God and any hope of ever gaining relief from my abuser in one tiny dark moment.
So I stayed silent. I didn't tell. Because there was no one to listen. I was just a girl, a less than commodity in 1970. I protected my abusers for 40 years.
Now I protect me. I make my own safety. I honor that brave little girl and listen to what she says. I believe her when others wouldn't, couldn't.
And now when people ask me, "Why didn't you tell?"
I always answer, "I'm telling you now."
Saturday, January 9, 2016
The lake cottage was my salvation. There was no abuse that happened under my grandparents watchful eye. For that little bit of breathing room, for gifting me with those few sparkling memories as exist, I am grateful.
When my mom brought the sign home with her after my Grami passed, I felt a sigh escape my spirit. Every time I read that plaque in her front garden, I was whisked back to safety, to momentary happy, to a home on the lake.
My mom is now in Memory Care. I went looking for some pieces in her garden that I could install in the garden there to make it feel more familiar. This sign was top of the list. Things that she has known for a long time, such as this plaque, which has to be over 50 years old are easier for her to remember. I found St. Francis, a few bird feeders, but the plaque was MIA.
Who would steal a 50 year old plaque? Who indeed. I narrowed the field to 4 in a heartbeat. My sibs. The oldest - out of towner. No. I texted the youngest - no. The middle-no. That left just one. The one who had helped himself to the creche just weeks after we moved my mom. Weeks where my younger brother and I were still helping mom get settled. While we were doing that, he went to her house and took the creche, including the hand made stable. I walked in to her house one afternoon, her Christmas tree still in place, a few boxes left from Christmas day, the usual AD external clutter that matches her interior landscape. The creche was gone. He had asked (or more exactly his pushy bullying wife had made him ask) if he might have it since it had been a gift from them. I said yes meaning after mom passed, they could have it. Not two minutes after the words fall from my mouth, they could go and get it.
The plaque disappeared about the same time. And I have no doubt that this shit hole took both. Not took it. STOLE IT! My mom would never give that away. But I'm sure shithole tells himself just that, that she gave it to him, that he is somehow entitled to it, that he deserves it more than the rest of us because only he would appreciate it. The thief? A retired cop. And the irony doesn't end there. The plaque which had reminded me of safety and having a "normal" life? It resides at my abuser's house. And now this piece of nostalgia has been forever contaminated and my abuser still picks away at my safety.
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