The Thing I Always Say Is For Another Time
I read something once that told me I own everything that has happened to me, good and bad. I worry that by telling my story I am telling other people’s stories, stories I shouldn’t share and am not entitled to even think about. This little page in my story is the one event I always see coming up in a conversation and somehow manage to avoid, or make a cursory reference to and promise to come back to it another time. Recently someone who only wants to see me grow encouraged me to get it out. I agreed.
I’m worried when I unfurl this little page in my history and people read it they will treat me differently or feel bad for me or I’ll transfer some of the hurt onto them. I don’t want that. I do need to give that part of my life credit though, ignoring it or pretending it was no big deal doesn’t help.
Dad blamed mum because she let us kids shower together. My mum blamed my dad because he and his ex wife used to watch blue movies within earshot of the boys. I blame every single person involved who didn’t protect me. I blame those who knew and didn’t act, who went along, and who perpetrated. I was 2 and I probably don’t legitimately remember as much as I think. I remember frilly white socks, and buckle up shoes. A bunk bed. Freckled skin. I remember my sister and my two brothers. A room with a window to the left. A blue stool, a clay figurine on a bookcase and seeing it from up high. Maybe I was being held on a hip.
Mum helped me talk about it whenever I needed to, but I never really did. I didn’t know what to say.
My 13 year old half brother molested me, my other 12 year old half brother and my 10 year old half sister molested each other, and my cousin too. Later I was told by my cousin that my sister had encouraged it between the three of them. The sister that I was closest to had created a situation that put me at risk? I will never stop being furious about that. The type of rage that I can push down for a few months at a time, but without fail rears up and causes irreparable damage, but never as much damage as the thing that causes it did.
Even if she didn’t incite or perpetrate, how did she let it happen anyway. She surely knew, how could you not. 4 kids all living under the same 3x1 roof. She was meant to protect me. They all were.
He threatened to kill me if I told anyone. He made a special hand signal to remind me of the consequences, he did it in plain sight of my parents. I don’t remember it making me feel frightened, I do remember the recurring nightmare I had that featured him trying to get into my house for the next 10 years. I remember waking up from that nightmare every time I had it breathlessly screaming.
Mum moved us away almost instantly. Full points for taking action after the fact. We moved a suburb or two away, mum had her own house for the first and last time in her entire life. It didn’t last long, shortly after my aunt tried to kill my mum in full view of my sister and I. We fled again, this time 600kms away.
They did the best they could, they did what they thought was right. Unfortunately that doesn’t make it better. I can still resent the people involved. And yet I feel like I have to protect them. Does my brother’s partner know what he did? Does his own daughter? Why is he invited to things I’m invited to? Does no-one acknowledge it? Does anyone else in the family even know?
I remember telling my psychologist about it, I casually mentioned it and moved onto the next trauma. She made me go back and elaborate. I guess I deal with it by not focusing on it, but it’s okay to now and then.
There’s no point wondering what my life could have been like if these things didn’t happen to me. The sheer level of violence and general fucked up shit I witnessed or was involved in from my birth until now radiates through my bones, I have days where I don’t know how I’m still here. I didn’t know what suicide was when I was tiny but I knew I wanted to die, I wrote suicide notes and held my breath under water until I couldn’t stand it, I’d stare at myself in the mirror asking myself things I couldn’t ask anyone else. I’d lie motionless on the ground wishing I’d just disappear.
I dream of a little red haired girl. How much I want to scoop her up and tell her she lives with me now, everything will be fine.